The Unexpected Picasso

Baigneuse et Profil by Pablo Picasso, 1930. Photo:

When you consider Picasso’s body of work, three dimensional pieces in sand don’t usually come to mind. So this turned out to be a surprising discovery I made when visiting the Musée National Picasso in Paris a few years ago. Click on the link and select ‘oeuvre en 3 dimensions’ to have a look at the other seven works in this series, and for inspiration to make your own version. Here’s a quote from Picasso which nicely explains why we shouldn’t be surprised by his explorations:

“When you come to think of it, I am probably a painter without style. ‘Style’ is often something that ties the artist down and makes him look at things in one particular way, the same technique, the same formulas, year after year, sometimes for a whole lifetime. You recognize him immediately, for he is always in the same suit, or a suit of the same cut. There are, of course, great painters who have a certain style. However, I always thrash about rather wildly. I am a bit of a tramp. You can see me at this moment, but I have already changed, I am already somewhere else. I can never be tied down, and that is why I have no style,” Picasso wrote. (


  • stretched canvas
  • items to use in your collage
  • white glue
  • spray adhesive
  • sand

You can begin by having a look at Picasso’s other works in sand here, and select ‘oeuvre en 3 dimensions’. In Baigneuse et Profil, he used cardboard and plant material which was glued and sewn onto canvas. I headed to the beach to collect sand, and strained it once I got home to remove the questionable things inhabiting it. You can also purchase sand in garden centers if you’d rather not be the bizarre person stealing sand from the beach like me.


1. The first step is to create and glue down your collage. This will be done on a stretched canvas, found in dollar stores as well as art supply stores.  Mine was 8″ x 10″, but any size will do. You will be using the back of it, so remember to flip it over so your collage is contained within the frame.

It’s always a good idea to have a container where you can collect odds and ends like packaging, so you can recycle these items and use them in arts and crafts projects like this one. Most of the items I used in mine were recycled or from dollar stores. You can use just about anything to make this, as long as it can be glued down. The spray adhesive and sand will cover all colours.

2. Glue your items down with white glue, and allow to dry completely so nothing becomes dislodged when you apply the sand. Apply adhesive spray to your canvas, preferably outside or on newspapers. Make sure to cover everything you’ve glued on it, including the frame. Immediately apply your sand, which should be in a container like a plastic bin. Hold your canvas above the container and with a small plastic cup, pour the sand over it. If you find you missed areas with the glue, spray those sections and add the sand. Allow to dry. While I didn’t try this myself, I’m assuming spraying varnish on your piece will help prevent any of the sand from coming off and making a mess. You can try something like Krylon’s Varnish Kamar Spray.



Filed under Artists, Pablo Picasso

2 responses to “The Unexpected Picasso

  1. Shuki

    really good stuff – both the insights and the instructions.

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