My Grade 3 theme is Canadian Art, so I invited in local painter and printmaker Wendy Morosoff Smith to give us a workshop on watercolour monotypes. Wendy spoke to the students about how her landscapes are created from memories of the impressionable places she has been. She asked students to then create their own "memory landscape" from an image of a place in their minds that they remembered vividly.
We used 8 x 10 plexiglass plates, with a surface that I had already scratched up with sandpaper (for adhesion). Then Wendy and I washed the plates with a mildly abrasive cleaner to take off any dirt or oil, and rubbed gum arabic all over the plates with a rag. Students each took a plate, traced it on white paper, and sketched out a rough drawing of their composition on that paper. Then they laid the plate on top of the paper again and began painting. To paint, we used watercolour paint in tubes mixed with a little bit of water.
After the paintings were dry to the touch (some students had to use the hairdryer to speed up the process), they were ready to print. Some high-quality Stonehenge paper in warm white had been pre-cut and soaked in water. One sheet at a time was dried off with towels when it was time to print. Wendy operated the small printing press (which I feel very lucky to have in my classroom!) as students stood by and watched the magic take place. They were so excited and could not believe their eyes as their prints emerged. The prints were then left to dry and flattened under some books.
The next class, students were asked to title their image, and were shown how to write the edition number and sign their name on the print. Even with a big example on the board. this was difficult for most students to do. Next time, I would work step-by-step with all students together. I also had little strips of paper pre-printed with information on the printmaking process we used and a section for the students to fill out describing the significance of their image. They then glued these to the back of the prints.