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I've been doing a five week unit on Portraits and Picasso (emphasis on
Cubism) with 5th and 6th graders through Artist-in-the-Schools. I have
each class for 5 double periods. We've done two 3-D projects. The first
was a painted relief face made of foam cor scraps I got from a local
framer. We glued the pre-cut shapes onto heavy tag board, layering the
scraps to create depth and deep spaces. Later it was painted with black
acrylic (to get a base coat and to get into all the recessed areas). Then
we dry brushed lighter colors on top. The result was very Cubist in
The second was a small clay bust. I encouraged the kids to show more than
one view of the face in this one. Some made several faces around the sides
and back of the small sculpture. Some kids had to hollow out the form if
it was too thick at the end. I didn't allow "drawing" in the clay. All
forms have to be pushed IN or pulled OUT.
I used an excellent book called "The Sculpture of Picasso" by Roland
Penrose, Museum of Modern Art, which I got from our State Library. I made
transparencies from this catalogue--the pictures were all in black and
white--which were a great inspiration to the students. If you can get this
book, I'm sure a lot of projects will come to you as there are many forms
of wonderful 3-D work in it. I think the success of this unit came from
looking long and hard at the work of Picasso and using a variety of mediums
for our projects--just as he did.
Let me know if you want more details about these projects.
Always take time to stop and smell the roses... and sooner or later,
you'll inhale a bee.