Sunday, January 23, 2011


 Students began the lesson looking at and discussing Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life artwork. They talked about the characteristic swirls at the end of the branches and all the patterns on the tree. The process of printmaking was also discussed, which is one of the techniques the students will learn. The 1st step of the lesson was to create a background to print on. Students learned about the wet-on-wet watercolor technique, which is the process of wetting the paper before watercolor is applied. This technique caused the colors to "bleed" onto the paper and into one another creating a beautiful effect. This 12x18 paper would be cut in half so that the students could pull 2 prints.

The next step was to create a sketch of their interpretation of Klimt's tree on manila paper. The manila paper was then taped to a piece of printing foam. The students used a dull pencil and enough pressure to trace over their sketch, which transferred to the foam.

Students then had to re-trace over their drawing on the foam to create a deeper impression in it to ensure that their drawing would print well.

Students worked in groups at the tables to pull prints of their drawing. This process involves inking their foam plate with a roller called a brayer. The ink will only go on the raised surface, not the deep pencil lines that were made. The students had so much fun doing this!!

Next, students took their inked foam plate and their watercolor paper to the opposite side of the table to print their drawing onto the watercolor paper they made. Students had to rub hard on all areas of the foam to make sure that all of the ink transferred.It was so exciting to see all of their smiling faces when they pulled the foam off of to reveal their artwork!!

          This is a photo of the steps of the printing process: sketch, foam & 2 prints.

Here are a few example of the finished prints!!
For more information on Gustav Klimt visit:


  1. What a great way to integrate two separate mediums and an art history lesson! Thanks for sharing!

    Kate Eshelman
    k-6 Art Teacher
    Big Rapids, MI

  2. The prints are my favorite. I love printing especially when it is Art.

    Kai's Dad