Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Middle School German Expressionist Linocuts

For our printmaking unit, 7th and 8th grade students in World Art class studied the woodcuts of German Expressionist artists and completed 6" linocuts in this style.

We began by viewing woodcut portraits from the following artists: Max Beckmann, Kรคthe Kollwitz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, George Grosz, and Otto Dix. Students discussed the composition and style of these works, identifying adjectives to describe the style. Favorite answers included "rough," "contrasting," "textured," "sharp," and "choppy." Students noticed that the works did not seem to have a happy feeling, and that the faces were not intended to be beautiful or proportionate.

Practice: Using 6"x6" sketch paper and thick black markers, students made three or more practice sketches. A thick black marker drawing can achieve almost the same effect as a linocut, so students had to find the means to use texture to create areas of dark, medium, and light values. They were asked to draw one face, one flower, and one fruit or vegetable from my "fake plastic still life food" basket!

The Linocut: Students chose their favorite sketch to transfer to a piece of linoleum. We carved using #2 and #3 sized blades only to maximize textural effects. Students are in the process of printing an edition of two quality print on paper (it usually takes a few more tries to get those two perfect prints!). Each student is also printing on a 9" square of burlap as well as multiple prints on a 12" ceramic tile.

A few early finishers:

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