Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fun With Juan Miro

I just did a fun project with one of my private art students where we looked at the fanciful art of Juan Miro. 

"Midnight Masquerade" Inspired by Miro

His artwork is made up of cartoon-like creatures and has limited colors, but the colors that are used are bright. It can be hard for a child, who is used to drawing from life, to break away and surrender to drawing squiggles and weird shapes, but it's a wonderful exercise in letting loose and having fun with art. In order to free us up so that we didn't draw anything too recognizable, we used a chart and rolled a die to randomly choose the elements that would appear in our pieces. This is the chart I found on Pinterest and it doesn't link back to any site (SIGH). I hate that! If anyone knows where this chart came from, please let me know so I can credit the creator.

When creating the piece, I had my student focus on composition and scale. The figures in our drawings did not have to be the same size, but she chose to make them that way. I think I would suggest, in the future, that the student create two to three figures (their choice) but one had to be larger than the others. I think that would make the piece more visually interesting and we could talk about how the size of the figures affects their relationship to one another and to the space.

As we worked we came up with a story about these creatures and what they were doing. This helped later on when we selected colors for the accents and the background.

We then inked the figures with Sharpies and added spots of color with bright oil pastels. This was a great opportunity to talk about balance and make sure bits of color appeared throughout the piece. We then finished the pieces off with multi-colored watercolor washes. We talked about tone and how the color choices in the background could reflect mood or time of day. For example, a piece that takes place at night might have cool, dark colors whereas a piece that depicts a happy moment may have bright, warm colors. We then made up great desciptive titles for our pieces and wrote them on the edge of the work.

Miro is not for everyone, but it was fun to try something different and fanciful! Enjoy!

"The Wizards Making Magic in the Night"
by my student age 9


  1. My Dear Mrs. P.,

    I am blown away by your post on Joan Miro'. Aside from the fact that he is one of my FAVORITE artists, your eloquent description of his work was outstanding. Sometimes it is difficult for art teachers to make the meaning behind the art accessible to parents and administrators. You are very skilled in your expalantions and descriptions and as an art teacher I really appreciate your clarity. Nice work!


  2. I've been sick all week with a cold and this just makes my day (month)! :-) Thank you for your kind comments--the Miro project was super-fun and I hope more people will try it and open their minds to this artist!


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