Tried & True Tips for Art Teachers is a monthly roundup of advice and wisdom
from fellow art teachers, put together by the intrepid Glenda Lubiner.
Prints, Photos and More
“The silhouette says a lot with very little information, but that’s also what the stereotype does.” — Kara Walker
Happy November! We have almost made it through the first half of the year, but before you take a nice long rest over the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some brilliant tips and ideas on printmaking, photography, image transfers and digital media to get you through the month.
Monoprint Madness. Monoprints can be done by using gelatin pads with acrylic paint. I have my students do at least four layers of printing using different colors and textures per layer, and masking items to let the layer of color below show through.
Even though they might look a bit messy when done, after trimming the edges and matting or mounting them, they look fabulous. If you don’t have gelatin pads, use a foam tray from the grocery store and do the same technique. The outcome will be a bit different, but still beautiful in the end.
And when all else fails, get a smooth metal cookie tray, flip it over and use the bottom as your matrix. Students can finger paint, use brushes or textures to create their image.
For the little kids, printing with objects—from vegetables to LEGOs— always makes a great print.
Time is on Your Side. In the past, Keeli Singer from John Evans Middle School in Potosi, Missouri, put the ink on the students’ tables, the same place they do their printing, but she noticed they often end up with more ink spots than they had intended as their workspace becomes messier.
She has learned to have a separate location for the inking process. The students roll their ink on a brayer and ink their wood block at Station 1, then they carry their inked block to their table (Station 2) and print it onto their paper. This also keeps individual students from monopolizing the ink tray when they’re sharing, because they must step away from the ink tray to print! A tub of wet wipes at each table also saves time for cleanup.
Altered Photos. Altered photos is a dynamic way to see photographs differently. Whether you have a dark room or not, digital cameras or not, this project can be done with first-graders up to college students. I usually have my students bring in two identical photos printed on photo paper (I tell them to get 4″ x 6″ prints at a photo kiosk) in black and white. The students can decide when they want to glue the photos to the cardboard or mat board during the creative process.
I explain that I do not want to see a photo with a decorated frame around it. They then alter the photos, by cutting, scratching, sandpapering, folding, painting with markers or Sharpie paint pens (these work beautifully). Some choose to weave their photos or make them 3-D, others choose to add alternate items like beads, raffia, fabric or just plain hot glue for a raised surface.
Digital Art for Beginners. Even if you don’t have computers in your classroom, hopefully you can sign out a few tablets. I have used iMotion with my students who had no experience and we had some very successful 30- second movies.
I had the students come up with a theme and then create it with cut-out construction paper characters and backgrounds. It was a little choppy in some cases, but overall a fun experience.
Transfer That Image. All you need to use for some spectacular image transfers is gel medium, a brush, and a tub of water. Find an image (magazine images usually work well) and coat it with anywhere from four to 10 layers of gel medium. Make sure each layer dries completely before doing the next (you can even add a little pigment if you want).
When completed let dry for another 48 to 72 hours. Your end result will be better if it is completely dry. Once dry put it in a tub of lukewarm warm water for about 15 minutes and start scrubbing off the paper. Until the image is totally dry again, it might appear a bit milky. Once completed, add the image to your art piece.
Happy Birthday to Hannah Hoch (Nov. 1, 1889), Robert Mapplethorpe (Nov. 4, 1946), Louis Daguerre (Nov. 18, 1787), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Nov. 24, 1864), and Kara Walker (Nov. 26, 1969).
Thanks Keeli for your helpful tip!
Arts & Activities Contributing Editor Glenda Lubiner (NBCT) teaches art at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She is also an adjunct professor at Broward College.
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