May 15, 2018

More Printmaking Classes

        Here are just a smattering of pieces that I happened to photograph, made by artists in my adult ed printmaking class in March-April.  I offer them with a few observations about the differences between the work of these adults and the children in my summer classes.
        1.  Adults are quite happy with black and white, while children want as many different colors of ink as possible.  In the adult class I only once was asked for ink other than black, while the kids ask me for 6 colors a day (the most I can put out at a time).  Plus sometimes I wash plates and change out the colors multiple times during a 3-hour class, and often the kids want to mix colors or make ombre colors, as well.  (For the colors on the pieces shown here, the artist watercolored paper at home and brought it to class to print on top… with black ink.)
        2. Adults are more willing to embrace the beauty of unplanned carved lines in the backgrounds, while children tend to want their backgrounds cleaned up to pure, blank white.
        3.  Children tend to have difficulty with - or just impatience for carving - lots of texture and pattern.  They are much more likely to stick with outlines and areas that are solid black or solid white.  Adults spend much more time adding details of pattern and texture.
        4.  Adults also spend much more time reworking blocks: testing, carving a bit more, testing, carving a bit more…  while most children don’t go through more than one or two iterations of testing and tweaking.
        5.  Adults make more interesting, complex compositions.  This isn’t just about printmaking, of course, but is the developmental stage in all visual arts.  Children until about age 11-12-ish tend not to overlap elements in their pictures, not to put them off-center or crop them,
not to use unusual viewpoints.  They generally like all their elements neatly centered, with blank space framing them, each element clearly visible in its entirety (which is why it’s fun to push them a bit with the foreground/background project.)
        For me its always fun to see both - what children do and then what adults do.  So I’ll be teaching an adult class again in the fall, but first, there are still spaces in my summer printmaking classes for children currently in grades 4-8.  So if you have any arts-and-crafts-loving children who want to join the printmaking fun, be sure to sign them up for either session in Needham Community Education’s Summer Explorations program.

[Pictures: Three pieces with watercolor backgrounds, rubber block prints by NA, 2018;
Egyptian falcon, rubber block print by SB, 2018;
Poppies, rubber block print by PL, 2018;
Brocade design, rubber block print by RG, 2018;
Friend’s dog, rubber block print by MH, 2018;
Trout, rubber block print by NB, 2018;
Faithful dog?, rubber block print by PG, 2018.]

2 comments:

  1. I love hearing these differences between kids and adults - and how fun it must be for you to be able to work with both.

    I love getting these peeks at the block prints - each is fabulous. Very clever printing on the pre-colored paper as well.

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    1. Of course really young children are different still, but I don't do carving with them! (There are other printmaking projects one can do with younger kids, but let's be honest, they're not nearly as cool as carving blocks.) My favorite age of children is middle-school, but it's definitely also fun to work with the grown-ups, many of whom are already accomplished artists in other media and can blow me away with their wonderful take on things.

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