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Sculpting Picasso

Updated on August 17, 2016
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

Gina has been an art teacher for the last 15 years, having taught in the judicial system, in community art programs, as well as schools.

Sculpting Picasso: A lesson in Cubism

Student work:  Styrofoam sculpture created in the Cubist style of Picasso
Student work: Styrofoam sculpture created in the Cubist style of Picasso | Source

Picasso, the Sculptor

Most of us are familiar with the paintings and drawings of Pablo Picasso, but he also did many works in clay!

Picasso discovered ceramics in 1947 and continued creating ceramics until his death in 1973. His ceramic work stood out in his time due to its sense of freedom in brushwork, economy of line, and use of vibrant color.

Picasso produced more than 2,000 ceramic pieces.

His pieces utilized new forms, techniques, and color that hadn’t previously been seen in ceramics.

Although ceramics are often deemed a craft, Picasso viewed the plates, jugs, vases, and other vessels he created as a type of canvas that curved. He playfully experimented with the union of decoration and form, and left his mark in the world of ceramic art.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso

Picasso's real name

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispín Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso


You will also find this answer:

Pablo Diego Jose Santiago Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispin Crispiniano Maria de los Garnimano Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Clito Ruiz Blasco y Picasso a Lasso Lopez

Two of Picasso's most famous paintings

Guernica 1937
Guernica 1937
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon 1907

Who was Picasso?

Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the Bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces at the behest of the Spanish nationalist government during the Spanish Civil War.

Head of a Woman (Fernande)

Head of a Woman (Fernande) 1909 Exaggerating the features and planes to heighten the effects of light and shadow wanted see how natural light interacts with his cubist surface.  Traditional bronze.
Head of a Woman (Fernande) 1909 Exaggerating the features and planes to heighten the effects of light and shadow wanted see how natural light interacts with his cubist surface. Traditional bronze. | Source

Picasso, the Sculptor

Pablo Picasso is perhaps best known for his paintings, but his sculptures are among the most radical, thought-changing artworks of the modern period.

Picasso turned to sculpture with particular rigor at several key moments in his career, using the medium as a testing ground for ideas that would catalyze crucial shifts in his practice at large. The sculpture Woman’s Head (Fernande) (1909), also on view, helped Picasso conceptualize the break of solid volume into shifting masses suggestive of varying perspectives, and served as a foundation for the development of Cubism.

Absinthe: Picasso's work and the real life inspiration

Glass of Absinthe 1914 by Picasso
Glass of Absinthe 1914 by Picasso
Glass of Absinthe 1914 Absinthe is served this way traditionally. It'€s not a unique configuration. The absinthe is poured through a sugar cube and slotted spoon into the glass. Incredibly alcoholic, it was banned the year after Picasso's work.
Glass of Absinthe 1914 Absinthe is served this way traditionally. It'€s not a unique configuration. The absinthe is poured through a sugar cube and slotted spoon into the glass. Incredibly alcoholic, it was banned the year after Picasso's work.

Picasso and the Guitar....Picasso seemed to have had a fascination with the guitar, having painted Old man and guitar as well as creating several sculptures bas

Guitar – 1912  Cardboard and string.  ‘Most radical change in sculpture since bronze casting’ Shifting from mass to plane, from closed volume to open construction...building up the form from component parts.
Guitar – 1912 Cardboard and string. ‘Most radical change in sculpture since bronze casting’ Shifting from mass to plane, from closed volume to open construction...building up the form from component parts.
Guitar 1914 collage
Guitar 1914 collage

Famous Picasso Sculptures

Picasso Sculpture in Chicago
Picasso Sculpture in Chicago
Picasso sculpture at Princeton
Picasso sculpture at Princeton

Scenes from the Mr. Picasso head website

Each student had to create at least images that were to be used for their sculpture.  This website can be used for each of the particular assignments.
Each student had to create at least images that were to be used for their sculpture. This website can be used for each of the particular assignments. | Source
Each student had to create at least images that were to be used for their sculpture. These images can even be created in color to give the student an idea of what colors they might like to use in the final work.
Each student had to create at least images that were to be used for their sculpture. These images can even be created in color to give the student an idea of what colors they might like to use in the final work. | Source

Mr. Picassohead

While I was were researching Picasso and his art, I stumbled upon this site called Mr. Picassohead. I decided to play around with it and found that you could create some interesting art in the style of Picasso, adding color and all.

I decided to incorporate this into the lesson for the projects I was to have my students do. I think your students will enjoy it also.

Mr. Picassohead is a fun online app that lets you create Picasso-style face paintings which look like they were painted by a real artist.

These designs were then to be used to create the relief effects on their containers.

Student examples in clay

Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source

Sculpting Picasso using clay

Objectives:

  1. Create a three or four-sided vessel incorporating abstracted faces on each side. Vessels should be irregular in shape.
  2. Demonstrate skills and craftsmanship in working with clay
  3. Explore hand-building methods of construction
  4. Demonstrate an appreciation and awareness of the work of Pablo Picasso

Vocabulary: score, slip, slab, pinch, coil, Picasso, cubism, Blue Period, glaze

Materials:

  • Clay tools
  • Texturizing plates
  • Guide sticks
  • Slip
  • Canvas cloth
  • Rulers for measuring
  • Earthenware clay
  • Glazes
  • Clay tools for cutting
  • Kiln for firing
  • Rolling pins
  • Brushes for glazing
  • Mr. PicassoHead app on computer

Students were given choices to create the container:

  • Cylindrical
  • Cube
  • Rectangular

Resources:

Prints of Pablo Picasso cubist style
Prints of Pablo Picasso "Blue Period"

The Process:

Sketches: Plan your design. Decide how many sides you will be using and begin sketches of the shape of your vessel as well as the abstract face designs you will be using. You will be using you www.mrpicassohead.com designs. Your base will be a free form design that is larger than your vessel. Remember: The sides can be irregular in shape but MUST have perfectly vertical sides and a horizontal base in order for your sides to fit together.

Final Design: Your final design will be drawn onto idea paper to scale. Remember to include your base which will be a free form shape that is larger than your vessel. You will be using this as a pattern to cut from your clay slab. Faces should also be drawn onto the pattern. This is a rough draft. Changes may be made once you begin sculpting faces onto clay.

Slabs: Begin by rolling a slab using two slats and a rolling pin. Your slab must be uniform in thickness before you begin cutting. Place pattern pieces onto clay and cut each side carefully.

Sculpting: You must sculpt your faces before constructing your vessel. Be careful not to attach too much clay to each side or you will have a hard time getting your vessel to stand. Remember to SLIP & SCORE!

Construction: Now you are ready to slip and score your sides together and then attach (slip & score) to the base.

Allow to dry and bisque fire.

Glaze as desired - apply even coats.....The examples are glazed blue to pay tribute to Picasso's Blue Period. However, you may use any colors you desire.

Sculpting Picasso using fabric and printmaking techniques.

Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source

Sculpting Picasso using Fabric and Printmaking techniques

Objective: To create a free-standing, soft sculpture in the style of Picasso's Cubism, and to learn about Picasso and his Cubist style.

Vocabulary: Cubism, Picasso, print-making, brayer, print, gouge

Materials:

  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Unbleached muslin/ 38 inches
  • Embroidery thread and needles
  • Scissors
  • Etching tools
  • Paints
  • Markers
  • Rice mixture, to create the base so it can stand

Process:

  • Make a preliminary drawing of the soft sculpture in marker on a 9" x 12" piece of paper. Create the design with a 1" border around the artwork to be used as a seam.
  • Tape it to a window or light box.
  • Tape one piece of the muslin over the drawing.
  • Trace over the image lightly with a pencil.
  • Tape the Scratch-Art® Scratch-Foam® over the paper drawing and trace lightly with a pencil.
  • Cut out the outline of the sculpture.
  • Turn the drawing over to reverse and trace the outline onto another piece of paper.
  • Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the reverse side of the sculpture.
  • The color will be applied to the muslin as a monotype: first by painting the Scratch-Foam®, then by transferring it to the muslin. NOTE: Because the image will be reversed as a print, it is important to apply paint to the reverse side of the foam.
  • For best results, print one section of the sculpture at a time. Cut an area out of the foam. Experiment with layering and blending colors, also with removing or scratching through the paint, using modeling tools.
  • Turn the Scratch-Foam® over, line up the print carefully over the muslin and apply gentle, even pressure with fingers or a baren. Lift the foam and repeat this step with the remaining pieces of foam until the front is completely printed.
  • Repeat step 4 to print the reverse side. 6. When the prints are dry, embellish both sides with stitching or beads.
  • Cut the sculpture shape from the muslin, keeping the 1" border of unprinted fabric around all sides intact.
  • Place the prints face-to-face and sew a running stitch around the outer edge of the fabric on top and sides, leaving the bottom open.
  • For a no-sew version, simply brush fabric glue along the top and sides and secure together until dry.
  • Turn the sculpture right-side-out and stuff the piece mostly full, leaving 1" at the bottom to add beans or rice.
  • Push the stuffing into tight areas and curves using the eraser end of a pencil.
  • To finish the sculpture and keep it standing upright, make a “beanbag” weight for the bottom. Take a square scrap of muslin about twice the size of the base of the sculpture and pour beans or rice into the center. Gather it at the top and tie it with embroidery floss. Insert the beanbag into the bottom of the sculpture, tied-side-up. Sew or glue into place.


Sculpting Picasso using styro-foam

Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source
Student work
Student work | Source

Sculpting Picasso using styrofoam

Objectives:

  1. Create a free-standing sculpture using abstracted faces.
  2. Demonstrate skills and craftsmanship in working with styrofoam and a styro-cutter.
  3. Explore hand-building methods of construction.
  4. Demonstrate an appreciation and awareness of the work of Pablo Picasso.

Materials:

Styrofoam, styro-cutter, paints, hot glue, paints, brushes

Vocabulary:

Picasso, cubism

Resources:

Prints of Pablo Picasso cubist style

The Process:

  • Begin by planning your design.
  • Draw out all aspects of your design onto paper first, then use those sketches to trace onto your styro-foam.
  • Once your designs have been drawn onto the styro-foam sheets, use a styro-foam cutter to carefully cut out each piece.
  • Assemble your sculpture using hot glue. Let dry completely.
  • Paint your sculpture.
  • TIP: Some students chose to paint their pieces while still disassembled. This might be easier, depending on the complexity of the sculpture created. Let the pieces dry completely before assembling.

So tell me.....

Who is your favorite artist?

See results

So what are your thoughts on Picasso?

Some people hate his work. Some people just aren't sure. What are your thought's on Picasso, the Artist?

Ok, if you must....give me your opinion on Picasso, the Man, also. I have some very strong opinions about the man, but I cannot ignore the contribute Picasso made to the art world, an impact we still see today.

Picasso: Master of the Modern Era

© 2016 Gina Welds Hulse

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    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
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      Gina Welds Hulse 18 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thanks for visiting, Alex. I appreciate your comment.

    • Alex Adelman profile image

      Alex Adelman 18 months ago from Oakland Hills, CA

      Good article. Thank you.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 20 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Yes, Da Vinci was certainly a visionary. Although, an artist, he was so much more than an artist.....My students are always amazed when I speak of his inventions, and show them images of his drawings.

      Yes, I am sending a honey blend with astragalus and a few other herbs that are great for fatigue. I hope you're not allergic to honey. Let me know. Otherwise I can do capsule form.

      It's a beautiful morning here in Central Florida.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 20 months ago from london

      I chose Da Vinci because he was so good or excelled at so many different fields. He was a visionary and I always like visionaries. I also know more about him.

      By the way, are you sending me something? I'm here until the evening of the 29th, God's willing. You don't have to, but if you can I'll pay you for it. Much Love.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image
      Author

      Gina Welds Hulse 20 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Yes, Manatita. I have been an art teacher for over 15 years, as well as being a professional artist myself. I am currently working on an exhibit. Remember, remember the 5th of November.....for that is the date of my show. lol

      Picasso and Van Gogh are my favorite artists, and I have often been compared to Picasso and Matisse.

      Picasso was definitely a child prodigy, who grew to make a significant impact on the world of art, especially in the development of the Cubism movement.

      Thanks for visiting, again. You know I value your feedback.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 20 months ago from london

      Nice work and you show an obvious interest in art by your works. I know of Picasso and the fact that he is famous. I believe that he was a genius all right, but I don't know much more.

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