Posted by: MiniMonets | December 7, 2014

Paul Cezanne Still Life

In the spirit of fall and celebrating Halloween, I wanted to introduce the artists to creating a still life. Paul Cezanne was a Post – Impressionist who painted many still lifes during his career. A still life is a painting or drawing of any type of object that sits still on a table in front of the artists. Typically it’s fruits, fabric, and bottles, but since I love Halloween, ours consisted of pumpkins and gourds. I read an introduction of Cezanne’s life from the book Paul Cezanne (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia. Cezanne believed that since a piece of paper or a canvas is flat, a painting should look flat too. We discussed what other things were flat in our classrooms to reinforce the idea of objects that are flat. To make his paintings look more flat, Cezanne would create dark outlines on his subjects, whether a still life, a portrait, or landscape.

 

After reading some of the book, I let each student hold the pumpkins and gourds before setting them in the middle of the table. We talked about the round shapes of pumpkins and gourds. I demonstrated that when you are drawing a still life, the artists should draw the pumpkin that is closest to you, and then work your way to the farthest. After we drew all the pumpkins, we added a table line across the page so that the pumpkins would not be floating on the paper. After drawing, each artist was given black and brown tempera paint to create dark outlines on their still lifes.

 

For the second class, I read more about Cezanne’s paintings. Even though he believed things should look flat, he felt they should have lots of color and details so that his subjects would feel solid. After bringing back all the pumpkins and gourds, I gave each artist orange, green, and yellow tempera paint. I wanted the pumpkins and gourds to be painted realistically and we talked about the different colors on each type. To finish the painting, we mixed all three colors to paint the table and then mixed grey from black and white for the space behind the table. I chose neutral colors so that they bright oranges, green, and yellow would stand out.

 

The objective of this project is to understand that art is a reflection of the artist’s ideas, environment, and / or resources. In November, we move into the second session Colors and Values. During this session, the curriculum focuses of color mixing and color groups such as primary, secondary, and warm or cool colors.

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