Jim Dine: Watercolor Resist Hearts

Hello, fellow art lovers! A few months have passed. I had a great summer doing absolutely nothing! And now, in the thick of the Fall semester, I've been slammed with schoolwork and projects to keep up with. My art classes have changed somewhat, although I still have quite a few projects I'd like to share. I'm now teaching about the Renaissance era, specifically the great masters.

Can I get a snooze button?

No seriously, after you've studied the Modern Art masters and all the fabulous, visionary, amazing art these artists created, the "Mona Lisa" seems a little plain. However, I understand the importance of learning foundational subjects. And without Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", we might not have gotten a Picasso "Weeping Woman". So there you have it, this is where I am right now.

I was inspired by this project over at Art Projects for Kids a few months ago. So the students and I delved into studying the artist Jim Dine. He was an artist that found a icon--the heart-- and then explored it for many years, in several different incarnations and mediums. We artists are funny like that. This project requires watercolors, oil pastels and rubber cement.

  • Hand out a 9 X 12 sheet of watercolor paper. You are going to need something sturdier than drawing paper as you will be creating a watercolor resist painting and it needs to hold up.
  • Encourage students to draw a pattern using hearts. They can be repetitive shapes, overlapping, formed in a grid pattern. You may even want to create several heart templates, for those students who need some help with their drawing skills. The templates will provide them with the confidence to lay their design down.
  • As usual, encourage students to be neat about their sketches, making sure not to shade with the graphite.
  • They should then color with their oil pastels. There is a rule in Mrs. Pearmama's art class: thou shall press down hard when using oil pastels. None of this feather light coloring in my classroom! These are oil pastels, not cheap crayons! Encourage your students to blend their oil pastels and create interesting patterns with their colors.
  • The students then painted a light watercolor wash over their drawing. At first, they are very reluctant to paint directly over their freshly created oil pastel drawing. But then they discover that the oil pastels resist the watercolor.
  • Have all students take a turn by the hair dryer to dry their watercolor washes.
  • Once they're dry, hand out small bowls of rubber cement. I have a favorite brand, but imagine my surprise when I opened up the 16 oz. can to find that they don't provide a brush attached to the lid like the smaller cans do. That said, you will need to designate a few cheap brushes that you don't mind throwing away after this project.
  • Have your students brush on the clear rubber cement over their drawing, making sure not to leave behind any clumps. Teach them to use flowing strokes.
  • The rubber cement dries fairly quickly and is slightly stinky. Make sure you have fans blowing and/or windows and doors to your classroom open.
  • Lastly, students are to paint another watercolor wash in a contrasting color over the entire paper once again.
  • There you have it, a watercolor resist painting a'la Pop artist Jim Dine.
The artwork above was created by a third grader.

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  1. Cool Lesson! I hear you on doing nothing during summer and then the fall boom of work work work! Thanks for sharing your ideas :)

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  3. 愛,拆開來是心和受兩個字。用心去接受對方的一切,用心去愛對方的所有。.........................

  4. Thanks for your blog! :) I love to see what other teacher's and artists are up to. If you have a moment, please check out the website for my art room. :)



Artistically speaking....

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