Copy Famous Paintings – Pablo Picasso


What is It?

“Le Rêve” (The Dream), Oil painting, 1932 by Pablo Picasso

How was this painting done?

In this painting, Picasso creates a distorted depiction, with very simplified outlines and contrasting colors resembling early Fauvism. Picasso takes the human form of his young mistress and translates it into colours and shapes.  He uses intense colours like the sun,  bright red lipstick and soft colours of the body to depict her sensuality.  The model’s face shows emotions of peace and tranquility.  The artist uses  a darker harlequin pattern in the background.  Some say this could be a metaphor for Picasso’s belief in himself as a trickster or harlequin.

Why Should We Care?

Pablo Picasso and his friend Georges Braque invented Cubism and a new way of seeing by painting the subject from multiple viewpoints.  .

Picasso painted what he wanted, he broke away from tradition by being himself and showing his emotions. Without Pablo Picasso and his controversial artworks, Modern Art and the world would not be what they are today.  How we see art has completely changed, thanks to the genius of Picasso.

Where can I find more paintings like it?

Similarities in subject matter and use of bright colours can be found in the early abstractions of Matisse such as in his 1905 painting titled,  Bonheur de Vivre, or the “Joy of Life.and “Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya“, 1947.

Picasso’s early work “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 shows the influence of African art and a subsequent distortion of the face.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself, here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark watercolour crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • two or three hours

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured water colour crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is okay for the watercolour crayon mark to bleed into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • The painting will not look great at the initial blocking in stage, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • acrylics dry darker than the mixed colour

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.  It’s your painting after all!


Image from accessed 09/11/2016

2 thoughts on “Copy Famous Paintings – Pablo Picasso

  1. Pingback: 21 is your lucky number! 21 famous paintings for you to copy… | Zen School for Creative People

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