Grade: Elementary
Subject: Art

#1478. Oh Picasso!

Art, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Dec 31 18:00:46 PST 1999 by Terry Tunkel (
Harrison School, North Plainfield, NJ 07060 USA
Materials Required: Examples of Picasso's artwork, paper, black crayon, water colors
Activity Time: one-two hours
Concepts Taught: Styles of painting

Oh Picasso!

Grade Level -- K-2
Subject Areas -- World Languages/Spanish, Art, Social Studies, Language Arts
Objectives --

1. Students will be able to name the painter Picasso as a famous Spanish cultural figure.
2. Students will be able to name at least one of Picasso's painting styles.
3. Students will be able to describe aspects of Picasso's "Blue Period".
4. Students will learn that the color word for blue is azul in Spanish.
5. Students will learn the expression "feeling blue" and identify the color blue as a sad color.
6. Students will write or dictate an explanation of their own painting.
7. Students will explore and determine through discussion and painting events that are considered to be sad.

Materials --
1. Books with examples of Picasso's artwork. See a painting Picasso painted of his mother when he was 14 years old for a realistic painting. You might also show "The Blind Man's Meal" and "Woman Ironing" as examples from Picasso's "Blue Period". "The Three Musicians" is a good example from his cubist period and "First Steps" from his surreal period.
2. Blue and black crayons
3. White drawing/painting paper
4. Watercolor paints

Background Information- Picasso was born in Spain in 1881. His father was a curator of a museum and painter in his own right. Picasso showed such great talent at an early age that his father gave up his own painting to concentrate on teaching Picasso to draw and paint and further Picasso's career. As a young man Picasso studied painting in Paris, France as well. Picasso used many different styles of painting from realistic, to cubist and surrealist. At one point a good friend of Picasso's fell in love with a woman who did not love him. This made Picasso's friend so sad he killed himself. (You may simply want to say that a friend of Picasso's died) Picasso was very sad and depressed over his friend's death but he knew it was wrong to kill himself so he expressed his deep sadness through his painting. He entered his "Blue Period". During this time Picasso painted poor, sad people using primarily only the color blue.


Begin with a discussion of the meaning of "style". Compare various styles of clothing such as sporty, dressy and hip/cool. Discuss painting styles such as realistic and pointillism. Show brief examples. Introduce Picasso and discuss autobiographical aspects as in Background Information. Show examples of his work and integrate objectives mentioned above through discussion. Have students note that during his "Blue Period" Picasso seemed to outline many of his subjects in blue or black. Brainstorm events and things that make us sad. Let students outline on paper with a blue or black crayon the event that they thought of. You will need to demonstrate what an outline is for younger students. Then students use watercolors to paint. They are allowed to use only the color blue/azul. Students may experiment with adding green and purple to create different shades of blue. After their paintings are dry have students write or dictate an explanation of their artwork and title their masterpiece.

Extension -- This is a fun and challenging activity. Young children sometimes have difficulty thinking of sad things and sometimes don't wish to express them but it is a good opportunity for discussion. You can extend this with activities that explore expressions such as "green with envy" or Picasso's "Rose Period"