How to paint like Picasso (Cubism)?

One day I was curious about abstract art and how an artist goes about making abstract art?  I can view and examine many famous contemporary artists and their images of abstract art, but that does not reveal to me how it was made.

HOW to make abstract art! 

Maybe that’s not the right question.  So I decided to learn and research famous contemporary abstract artists, find out how they progressed into their abstract movement and learn about their art career.  I made close friends on YouTube learning all there is about my favorite artists and their growth into the abstraction.  Then I wandered upon the famous museum of modern art, also known as MOMA.

 Wow, lots of stuff there!   Check it out

I spent many days watching the numerous videos at MOMA.  One in particular was about how to paint like Picasso (in the style of cubism).  Picasso’s approach to cubism tends to push and pull space with geometric shapes.

A side note:  Picasso wasn’t the father of cubism.  A french painter, George Braque, developed cubism.  Although Picasso was a friend and rival of Braque, they were both inspired by Paul Cezanne.

Both were experienced artists, why did they both change momentum in their art career?  Was it that photography was introduced in the beginning of the 19 century? 

Did they feel there was a need to change realism painting  due to photography?  

After watching this video from MOMA I am getting closer to my answer.   Here is a link to a 33 minute video.

Researching Picasso, cubism and watching this video, I was excited to play and to produce a painting.   

My studio cubism oil painting

These are my steps to an 8×10 painting titled “My Studio”

STEP 1:  Prepare the still life.  For my still life I found objects in my studio, cans of turpentine, brushes, paint tubes, fabric for drapery.  These are the images of my still life that I started with.  Cubism reveals many views of the still life subject, model or landscape and incorporates it into one 2 dimensional painting.  The key is breaking the boundaries of light and shadow and the push and pull of space.

STEP 2:  Start by drawing my still life from 3 or more different perspectives or views.  Spending only a minute or so with each view.  Just draw what comes into your vision that fascinates you.  Make geometric shapes or lines that are not necessarily connected.

Step 3:  Go back to each perspective and place shading on items or your shapes from each perspective.  Obviously each prospective has the light source  in a different place.

Step 4:  Set your palate with cubist color (white, black, raw umber, ochre, naples yellow, cobalt blue, dull green and cad red) a few cool hues, colors that push back and warm hues that move forward.  Mix a light color with a dirty turpentine to thin it out and place it in the light areas.  I used white, instead of naples yellow in the video since I used an ochre imprima background.

Step 5:  Reinforce the lines that I want to keep with black.  Add some new lines to make the painting attractive and incorporate some color and value of the objects; painting with a staccato “choppy” brushwork.  The process engulfed me in that I didn’t work totally horizontally in brush work with the painting.  Instead I chose each image as it was and followed its shape.  This is an artist’s prerogative and went with my imagination.  

Step 6:  At this point, I am not looking at the still life for impressions, I am working off my painting and how it can be perfected.  I added color in appropriate places, giving it an appealing quality.  I continually  reinforced my lines to make them sharp and prominent.

Step 7: Now I want to concentrate on my composition as a still life on my canvas.  By pulling some images forward and others in the background further back, I do this by lightening the foreground of the cloth and darkening the background behind the still life shapes.  I need to reinforce my lines again and correct any work on the still life or the focal point of my painting.  I got tired of reinforcing my lines, but it has to be done.

Step 8: Braque and Picasso, both blurred the sides of their paintings and didn’t leave the sharp lines intact.  Therefore, by wiping the edges with a turpentine cloth, I blurred the edges delicately to give the final version of “My Studio”, and sign my painting.

My studio cubism oil painting

Evidently I did not paint like a cubist, but I like what I did.  How did you like it? 

How are you going to paint like Picasso or Braque?