Ideas for Art Activities

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    Prints with Hokusai

    • The first block prints were created in Japan, where Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) created such well-known prints as his Thirty-six Views of Mount Fiji. His block prints were created by reduction printmaking, or cutting into wood blocks with special tools to create lines and patterns, which were then inked and pressed onto paper. He added additional colors by making other cuts and printing each color over the same print (see Reference).

      To create a reduction block print, use an old clean Styrofoam meat tray. Styrofoam can also be purchased at a local crafts store. Cut the raised edges off the meat tray to create a flat surface. Sketch a design using line and detail on a sheet of white paper the same size as the tray. When finished with the sketch, tape it onto tray to hold in place. Using a sharp pencil, trace over the sketch, pressing into the Styrofoam. Remove the paper sketch when finished. Select a color of paint and, using a wide flat brush, paint the top of the tray. Press the tray firmly onto a piece of white paper larger than the tray. Remove the tray and let the print dry.

    Surrealism with Salvador Dali

    • Salvador Dali (1904-1989) created surrealist paintings that sometimes suggested dreams, with many objects working together to create one idea, such as in The Persistence of Memory (see Reference).

      To create a surrealist image, use magazines, scissors, and glue to make a collage of objects that seem a bit odd being together. Select a background from a magazine. Try to select an image that is mostly a photograph with little text. Find objects from magazines to cut out and introduce to the background. Try to cut objects out with attention to detail so that it is difficult to see where one image ends and the other begins when they are glued into place. Continue adding objects until you are satisfied with the finished surrealistic collage. Give the artwork a title that explains the surrealistic collage and the theme used to create it.

    Close-up with Georgia O'Keeffe

    • Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) looked at details of nature and enlarged them in her paintings. While living in New Mexico in the late 1920s to the 1970s, O'Keeffe created many paintings of flowers, skulls, and the desert landscape she saw around her (see Reference).

      Take a walk around your home or school and find a flower or object from nature that you find interesting. Look for something that has unique lines, colors, natural shapes or patterns. Select a small part of the object to replicate. Use a large piece of paper and lightly sketch the main shapes and lines of the portion of the object. Goergia O'Keeffe often used hues of one color in her paintings, or used one color with added black or white. Experiment blending hues of a color within your painting. Paint with tempera paint. When finished with the painting, display next to the object that was painted.

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