Who Wants to be an ART HISTORIAN? – Master Artist Series Part II

Welcome to Part II of our Master Artist Series: Who Wants to be an Art Historian.

To get your creative juices flowing, check out the board game Dixit.  This is a fun game with beautiful, whimsical illustrations! The storyteller selects a card from their hand and creates a story, song, poem, phrase, or other description.  The other players must match a card from their hand to the story and then select which card originally belonged to the storyteller. This has been a family-night staple in my household.  It’s especially great since it’s fun for a group of adults, but I’ve also had kids as young as 4 be able to participate productively.  

Joan Miro:  Bright Colors and Signature Shapes

  1. Watch this video about Joan Miro’s life and abstract art:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQLk66KorOg
  2. Answer the question at the end of the video:  How can you use lines to create art? With this question in mind, consider a subject.  You can write a story, or think of an object, person, or favorite character. Try to recreate your vision using a series of dark black lines and shapes, instead of drawing a detailed image.  A black marker or thick crayon would be good for this. When you are done, use paint to fill in the shapes, and remember, this is supposed to be abstract!
  3. Here is a free handout of symbols and images that may be helpful to use if you get stumped:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Joan-Miro-Symbol-handout-4018146

Pablo Picasso:  Face

  1. This video read-aloud will tell you about the life of Pablo Picasso:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1BdaC_PwC0&t=2s
  2. Using black oil pastels (or crayons), draw the profile of a face down the middle of your paper, (forehead, nose, mouth, chin).  The profile will just be pointed towards the edge of the paper, not straight ahead.  Using the contours of this profile, draw a face looking straight ahead on the other side of your paper.  
  3. Adding color: color in your drawing really heavily using lighter-colored pastels.  Try coloring both sides of the face using different colors. Next, cover it with dark pastels, then scratch off the top layer to reveal the under layer.  Final step:  trace over all the black lines with black again.  Add more details like eyelashes, etc.

Gustav Klimt:  Tree of Life

  1. The Tree of Life is an important symbol in nearly every culture.  It represents wisdom, protection, strength, and beauty. It reaches up into the sky and down into the Earth, linking Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.  Setting up your sheet of paper lengthwise, begin your project by drawing a tree in the middle of the page and add spirals to the ends of the branches. Leave this project incomplete for now.  
  2. Watch this video about Gustav Klimt:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjqjPNgf22U
  3. Also, view this short film taking a closer, albiet abstract look at this particular painting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrXYzGWyYa4
  4. Now that you’ve seen the original painting, add markings to your tree.  
  5. Finally, do you remember that Klimt described one of the figures in his painting as a “dancer?”  The other appears to be sleeping. Consider who you would like to represent, keeping in mind the symbolism of the Tree of Life.  Who would you add to your Tree of Life? Humans? Other creatures? Dancers? Golfers? It’s up to you and there is no wrong answer.