During my recent flight to Europe, I watched a very interesting TV documentary on the early development of Picasso.
The documentary was a Behind the Artist series made by Let’s Pix in association with Paris Premiere/CNC.
It was very interesting how he developed into an artist and how his character and works changed during this period to find his voice. There were some common factors that are emphasized in the OCA course and for instance books like ‘Experimental Drawing’ by Robert Kaupelis:
- From the age of five he drew constantly – everything and everyone
- He copied and carefully studied his father – a classical painter
- He had the drive and determination to succeed and when all failed he took time out to recuperate and reinvent himself
- He would study the world around him intensely and use this investigation to produce his voice eg. gypsies, bullfighting, african masks, medieval statues, death, infidelity – all were to be present in later works
Milestones in his early works included:
Blue period – leading to LaVie (1903) Oil on canvas – a very painful theme based on the death of his friend Carlos Cartegenas. This closed a dark chapter in his life and enabled him to move forward.
Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) Oil on Canvas – Picasso realised that to paint a portrait classically had finished as photography had taken over. There was no longer a need to paint the moment or detail so he invented a new way to paint a portrait. The great Gertrude Stein hung this picture in her Salon alongside other great paintings of that time.
The young ladies of D’Avignon (1906) – Painted at the age of 25yrs old, a painting that changed art forever and was considered the starting point of modern art.
I drew a few sketches whilst watching the documentary:
Action: I will return to these themes again and definitely think about what drives me to paint, what influences I have had in my life that I could use or champion in my artwork. I will fill my sketchbooks with the world around me to find my own voice.