Our lessons in printmaking are complete. We began with monoprints. (The lesson really focused on mixing colors and how to clean our paint brushes,) but we did this by making monoprints using tempera painted on Plexiglass.
Our second print was a collograph relief print. We used one session to make the printing plate using corrugated and craft foam. The next week printed using tempera paint.
Our third print was a sort of engraved print. We used craft foam to create a radial symmetry print.
Our final project incorporated all of the prints. The students made flag books.
We started by tearing up the prints and collaging them onto one page.
The student stowed their extra scraps from their prints in ziplock bags, and I collected the bags and the completed collages. I took the finished collages home and cut them into the components needed for the flag books and stowed them away in the student's scrap bag. 
It took some organization to keep the flag book pieces and scraps sorted by student, and some time to cut all the pieces, but I think you will agree, the results are worth the effort.
The flag book when it is closed, the pages can be turned  like a book. The pages allows the back of the flags to be used by the students to journal about their print making experience.
If you have been following my journey with the Children’s Creative Project, you know that my third graders have been working on value, tint and shade. 

We moved on to create monochromatic portraits using secondary colors the students mixed.
Next, we were ready to begin our final project, drawing a landscape that incorporated tints and shades. This lesson came from Kathy Barbro’s, Art Projects for Kids. You’ll see the similarity right away. I used the same design, but changed the use of medium and color. Kathy used different colors to create depth and oil pastels. We used colored pencils and developed depth with tents and shades.
We began with a lesson on using colored pencils and creating tints and shades with them. Shades were created using a black colored pencil, and because we didn't have white pencils we used the white paper to develop tints by adjusted the pressure used on the pencil while coloring. 
We also talked about using color to build depth in the foreground, middle ground and background. Things in the foreground are larger and lighter; things in the background are smaller and darker. This all came together as we practiced creating tints and shades.  This lesson use  a whole 45-minute session.
Finally, through a direct instruction lesson, we accomplished our goal of creating depth using color, tints, and shades. 
Looking at the photos of the students' work, I know you will agree.
This is the last of the printing exercises done by my fourth graders.  We used craft foam to make stamps. To begin the lesson we had a discussion on symmetry and reflections. The students had some examples posted on their bulletin board, so I knew they were familiar with the concept. I showed them a few examples of radial symmetry form nature as well as art and stained glass work.

We started out by folding our paper into quarters.  Prior to the lesson I cut craft foam into a quarters of an 8 inch diameter circle. The students aligned the right angle of the foam piece with the center point of the folds and traced around the curve of the shape to form a circle on their paper. We used this as a template for placing our print.

Next the students engraved the craft foam using a dull pencil point.  They started at the point of their quarter pie piece and drew a design around it. They continued drawing designs around the center until they reached the edge. The retraced the completed design several times to be sure the engraving was deep enough to give a clear print.

When the design was etched deep enough, they colored their design using water-based markers. The classroom teacher and I were armed with spray bottles filled with water.  When a student was done coloring the stamp, they raised their hand, and we sprayed a few sprits onto one quarter of their paper.

The student then aligned the pie piece with the template and pressed the foam face down on their paper.  (There is no hurry at this point, not like with the collographs painted with tempera. In fact, the longer you wait, the better the print if the paper is not too wet.) They gently rubbed the back of the foam to release the stamp image. (if you push and rub too hard it stretches the foam and distorts the image)

After they pulled the stamp to reveal the image, they color the stamp again using the same colors. The process is repeated 3 times to complete the circle.

I think you will agree, the results are beautiful!

You might remember back on February 1 I posted some of my students  projects. My third graders did a study of color value, shade and tint. The next step was to apply the principle. We created
monochormatic portraits using secondary colors.
We started out by drawing face. This was done through a direct instruction process where we worked step by step, drawing the elements of the face. 
Then the students were free to add their own hair style.

Next we erased the guide lines we used to draw the face, and then sectioned it off with a variety of lines.
We traced over the pencil lines of the face, hair and dividing lines with a sharpie so they could see the lines when they painted. 

The students had a choice of mixing a secondary color. Using only that color and black and white, the mixed a series of tints and shades. 
To finish the background we mixed all the remaining paint on their palette, less the black because it has just too much value.

The final step was to use a water based marker to retrace the lines of the face, hair and dividing lines one more time to make the shapes of color pop. I think the results are great! I can't wait to share our final project with you. We are applying the principle to landscapes using colored pencils.
Yesterday afternoon I had the privilege to do a demonstration at the Morro Bay Art Center for the Art Association. I lucked into this opportunity thanks to my dear friend Linda Ortiz. She was scheduled for the event, but was called away. Linda had already determined the topic of altered snapshots, so I decided to go along with it.  As you can see from the results, it was a success. The demonstration was interactive so everyone joined in the fun. It was an afternoon of fun and exploration.

We used snapshots from the 50’s though the 80’s. Depending on the age of the photo, the results varied. The emulsion used in the development process has changed over the years. The first step is to brush water over the entire photo. The longer you work the water, you will soon feel the brush begin to drag, or pull on the surface of the picture. This means the emulsion is beginning to loosen up. 

Because I never know where the experience will lead, I always begin by using a piece of sandpaper and rough up the edges of the photo and lightly swipe over the entire surface. This allows the picture to be marred and relieves the fear and stress that can come with a blank canvas, so to speak. (At least that’s the way it is for me.) It also allows for the creative juices to begin to flow.

Next you use a carving tool of some kind. I usually use an Exacto knife that is on the end of a ceramic tool because it is shaped as an isosceles triangle and the point is easier to manipulate than the acute triangle of a typical Exacto knife. I didn’t have enough tools for the group, so I cut large gauge copper wire into about 6 inch pieces and spiraled one for safety.  The other end was sharp enough to scratch into the photo.

Now the fun begins. The wet emulsion on of the photo can be scratched off and the picture can be turned into anything at all. There are no limits to the creative process.  Check out the tornado! 

After the scratching, the photo is colored using a variety of mediums. My favorite is watercolor and metallic watercolors. Markers work well too. If you use a soft pastel, it is best to shave off some powder and rub it into the picture with your finger.  Acrylics work too, but I suggest you water them down so they have the translucent quality of watercolor. 

As you can see in the finished products, the results are fantastic. The altered photos can be used in mixed media art, made into cards, and included in scrapbooks. Linda has some beautiful pieces where she used her altered photos in small art quilts. The sky is the limit! I hope you enjoy the photos, and again I’d like to thank the Morro Bay Art Association for their kind hospitality and the opportunity to share in an afternoon of creativity.

It's been a long time since my last post. So sorry about that. I left you hanging, wondering about how the second graders did on their collograph printing experience.
Well, a picture says a thousand words. They did fabulously! It was a bit messy, but the experience was wonderful.
We used the same procedure as the fourth graders. Some of the students didn't place a lot of elements, but still the result looks great. I especially like the one above. Notice how the texture of the card board backing was transferred in the process. It had to do with the cardboard itself. (Only those students who happened to get the pieces from this particular box, had this effect.) We covered the cardboard and elements with glue, and I'm wondering if the moisture in the glue caused the cardboard to ripple, or if it was caused by the moisture int he paint. Regardless, I love it.
I am so happy to share more beautiful art with you. Fairlawn fourth graders really succeeded in creating collograph printing plates and the prints that resulted are fabulous.
We created the plates with two textures. Craft foam rendered a smooth surface and corrugated a ridged texture. I prepared for the first session of creating the printing plates by cutting  cardboard into 6 by 8 inch pieces for the base of the plate. I cut and soaked 4 by 6 inch cardboard, and peeled off an outside layer of each piece to expose the ridges, and cut craft foam to the same size. Each student received a base plate, an open faced piece of corrugated and foam.
The students were directed to cut three freehand shapes from both the corrugated and foam. They used glue sticks and placed them on the base plate. They used the remaining scraps and cut them into smaller pieces trimming them to fit between each other and  glued them down. It was sort of like putting a puzzle together. The toughest part was trimming the pieces so that there was a space between each piece, but as you can see, they succeeded.
After all the pieces were glued in place, the students used white glue and painted the entire plate, being sure to get the glue into the grooves of the corrugated and the spaces in between the shapes. The white glued then dried creating a seal around and over the pieces.
The next session was two weeks later, so the white glue was good and dry. In this session the students used tempera paint and were directed to blend secondary colors adding black paint to create shades and white paint to create tints. Then they quickly painted their plates, applied a wash of water to their paper and placed the paper over the plate. Using their fingers and palms they smoothed the paper over the plates, then removed it to expose the print.
The results were fantastic! The print above was a total surprise. I was sure it wouldn't come out because it took so long for the student to painstakingly apply each color, the paint was drying. But we applied a bit of water to each piece right before printing and this was enough to revitalize the paint. Wow! is all I can say!
There was only one student who realized that he had to place his shapes in reverse to print out a word. He is the clever one!
If there was any difficulty it was waiting too long to pull the print and the glue revitalized and caused the paper to stick to the plate. You can see in the sample above how the print is torn and pieces are stuck to the printing plate. I don't think it takes away from the print. If anything, it adds texture. This was difficult for the students to see. They felt like they had done it worng. But I assured them their prints were spectacular.
Also, there were results that were not quite as clear. As shown above, this happened because the student forgot to put a wash of water on the paper prior to printing.

This was a great exercise. I am repeating it with second graders and so far they have done a fabulous job creating their plates. I can't wait to share their prints with you. Be sure to stay tuned for that!

On Tuesday of last week I worked with four groups of first graders. One of the visual arts standards for first grade is the use of texture. We are using the work of Gustav Klimt as our example of texture and shape in works of art.
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
I shared many samples of Klimt's work and we identified the different shapes he used. Our work focused on "The Kiss,1907-1908"
"The Kiss,1907-1908"
After the introduction, I took the students through a direct instruction lesson with step by step modeling.
We began by gluing precut squares and rectangles from black and white paper to a golden background. This represents Klimt's use of gold leaf in his original work.
Starting at the bottom of the page, I modeled on the overhead projector, different sets of shapes that can be found in, "The Kiss." 
As we added shapes I informally introduced vocabulary for texture. 

During our second session we used view finders to locate specific examples of texture, and sketchbooks to record our choices.
I passed around objects so the students could feel the texture and clarify vocabulary definitions.
Finally, the students drew their representation of the texture in their books. It was a great lesson. The children were so enthused about touching the different items and discussing how they felt. They made connections to past experiences and were very insightful. 
Stay tuned for our next lesson. We will be creating imaginary animals and representing the texture of their hides with sketch examples. 
This week my kindergarten classes investigated the artist Paul Klee. We are studying line and shape, and Klee's work is fabulous as an example.
Paul Klee (1849–1940)
We looked at many samples of Klee's work, but focused our investigation on his work, "Park bei Lu 1938."
"Park bei Lu 1938."
We talked about the things you might find in a park and our vocabulary word for the day was, represent. I asked the children what the lines in Klee's work might represent. They said slides and swing sets, trees and people.
To begin, the children glued black yarn to watercolor paper to represent the things they would see at a park. This step was a challenge because the glue sticks we were using didn't stick to the yarn. So instead, we put the glue on the paper and stuck the yarn to it. 
Before we started painting, I demonstrated how to use the paint brush to pull the paint. We practiced pulling the brush rather than scrubbing with it. It was a delight to see how the children applied this new skill to their work.
I am so pleased with the results. The children created beautiful works of art. I wish I could share them all with you. Previously I shared the project with my husband. He was sure I was expecting way too much from kindergarteners. When he saw the results, he was blown away. He said each and every one was exceptional. I think you will agree!
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. 
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. 
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. 
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. 
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. 
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence. 
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.
 ... Abraham Lincoln