Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

1st Grade Kustav Klimt Prints

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 5:22 PM
After doing a bit of brainstorming and since I had had a bunch of my printmaking supplies out for my second graders, I decided to do a printmaking project with my first graders.  We examined and discussed Gustav Klimt's 'Tree of Life' and I emphasized a few key ideas that included:
1. Symbolism: the symbol as a picture representation of an objects and ideas.  
2. Scale: how artists change the size of objects to depict their importance in their work.
3.  The way Klimt created his tree to make it look as if the branches are growing right off the page.  

Here's how the lesson broke down: 
Day 1: I introduced the work and we examined and discussed it. I showed students how to draw a tree using swirls, wavy lines, and even concentric circles to represent swirls for students who have difficulty drawing. Students used dry erase boards and markers to practice. Towards the end of class I introduced Styrofoam plates and how to use a pen to draw 'into' them, making the lines deep and wide. 
Day2: Students practiced again (as needed) and then began drawing their trees onto the Styrofoam.  At the end of class I did a demonstration on printmaking.
Day 3: I demonstrated how to create a print and then had students make prints on their own. 
Day 4: I showed the students a brief PowerPoint on Klimt and we discussed symbols in art. Students were given metallic markers, glitter pens, and fluorescent markers and decorated the borders of their colored frame, extending the branches of their tree out past the printing surface.

In terms of the printmaking aspect of the lesson I had tried a few different printing inks in both black and brown only to be dissatisfied with the ones I had in my storage closet and ended up using black tempera which is pretty challenging to make prints with due to its quick drying time.  I have yet to find a good printing ink for Styrofoam that isn't overly sticky, doesn't flake like crazy when dry, and is light enough for students to use but bright enough to make great prints. What brand of printing ink do you use in your elementary classroom?