Every year I rethink Studio Art 1 for the 9th graders. How can I make sure that it’s a positive experience for all students especially given the fact that for many, it may be their only visual art class in their high school career? We try to start out with something that easily builds confidence in the artist and for me, it’s linocut printmaking. There’s something magical about the process of printing that I love to share with my students. This year we procured our images from a on-campus field trip to the meeting house and the lower school playground as well as from their own iPhone photo albums. We began with a few scavenger hunts so that they can look for elements and principles of design. We talked about composition and negative/positive space. We critiqued our photos in pairs and small groups. We examined linocut prints and discussed various techniques of mark-making. Then the students chose an image to transfer onto the linoleum block. They then pulled some prints and examined them closely to make adjustments. After printing their final designs onto colored papers they then went back in to figure out creative ways to combine them. On back-to-school night I put their in-progress pieces out and left post-its for parents and family members to comment on the work and the next day we did the same in a large group critique session. I’ve been slowing things down quite a bit in the studio these days, leaving time every day for sharing and peer-commenting. I find that it’s key to building a more egalitarian studio environment where I am not the only voice offering feedback. It’s paid off. I’m hearing more and more conversations about artistic decision making as I walk around the room. Here are some examples of the work that we made in the last month or so. I am so proud of and inspired by their creativity and tenacity.
Some student reflections at the end of the project:
What is something that you learned from this project?
That mistakes lead to creations of art.
Something that I learned is that using less color looks better than using more colors in some situations.
I learned that art is more than just a painting or a picture and there are many more components and aspects that go with art like patterns, reflections, contrast, etc.
I learned that there is a lot you can do from one photo and the possibilities are endless.
I learned how to put the correct amount of ink on your block.
Something that I learned from this project was that even though you may think that you messed up but you can always improve from your mistake.For example originally I wanted to make my picture have four even sides. Then my hand slipped and I messed up and made four un even sides. Even though I did not want to do this I looked pretty cool at the end.
I learned that I had to be more patient and had to stop getting frustrated because it was pointless. Getting frustrated only makes completing the overall task more difficult.
I learned how to highlight different areas by using different colors etc. I think for the future, I am really going to think more about the little details that will draw the viewer in.
Something that I learned from this project was how to carve a linolium block and print. This is something that I never thought I would be able to do. It was something that I am glad that I got the chance to do.
Cutting and pasting is difficult
I learned that you should always try new things even if it doesn’t seem like a good idea.
I learned to keep working at a project, even if I think its okay how it is, until Im completely satisfied with the result.
I learned that destruction can be helpful. I ended up destroying three prints I thought were really nice and combined them together to create one picture. I also destroyed my extra pieces so I can use them as well.But destruction isn’t always helpful; it just was during this class. I also learned that I can use the pieces I was originally going to throw away to help make my piece even better.
I learned how to use linoleum blocks and how to carve out darkness and light.
Something I took away from this project was understanding the principles of design better. The activity where we had to take photos of things we thought represented these principles. I thought this was very helpful, putting it in a more realistic way.
I learned that adding uneven and irregular elements to a piece of artwork can make it much better.I learned that the slightest detail goes a long way when it comes out with ink. One little cut could make your project 10x better.
i learned how fun and interesting art can really be. I really got in depth with my art so far and I think it came out great.
One thing that I learned was that making the project not original isn’t bad, but instead makes the image more original and special.
I learned that you don’t need to make everything perfect in art. I learned that things can be done in a more abstract way and still look good.