Masters of Art I: Paul Klee

Our Masters of Art series has begun! Our first project was inspired by Paul Klee’s drawings, lithographs and statement that, “Drawing is like taking a line for a walk”.
I showed a few examples of Paul Klee prints and had the children guess what they were. We also talked about how he played with continues line in his drawings and how it was hard tell where he started and stopped. My favorite example is “Sailing Ships” shown below.
paul-klee-sailing ships
Basic Supplies Needed:

  • paint (we use Colorations Simply Washable Tempera)
  • roller
  • cookie sheet
  • q-tip
  • paper

Before setting students loose with this project I show the steps start to finish:

  1. roll on paint
  2. draw design/picture
  3. press down paper smoothing the entire sheet with your hands
  4. peal paper back

It’s easy to get too much paint on the roller.You know you have enough paint rolled on the tray when you hear your roller make a sticky velcro sound. To get a smooth texture it’s important to use a light touch with the roller. If you press too hard your roller makes tracks, which can also be fun if it’s intentional. My toddler students LOVE using rollers. Sometimes they get more caught up in the process and the tools than creating a finished print and it’s important to give them this time to learn the tools and master the process.
When I’m showing the steps to this project I tell a fun story about taking my line for a walk as I’m drawing. My story includes “turning the corner, walking through the park, stopping at the store, swimming through a pool and skipping down the sidewalk”. As I tell the story I draw straight lines and curvy lines, dots, stripes, and shapes.
Students were encouraged to draw doodles, shapes, or pictures. With my older kids I discouraged doing text because letters transfer  to the paper as a mirror image (backwards and in reverse).
After drawing with the q-tip students smoothed the paper with both of their hands taking time to circle around the entire paper edge to edge.
Lifting the paper up and discovering the transferred image is like opening a birthday present!

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