Pow, Pop, Wham, Bam! Lichtenstein and Bubble Wrap

A New Yorker born in 1923, Roy Lichtenstein is well known for his paintings and prints that look like comics. His comic strip cartoons are easily recognized as well as his pop art paintings of everyday objects. To give them the feel of the funny pages, Lichtenstein used small dots using four colors of printers’ inks. Did you know these little dots have a name?

Printers would use small dots of color to print comics in the 1950s, to create shades and colors inexpensively. These were called Ben-Day dots, named for Benjamin Day, a printer in the 1800s.  Lichtenstein used Ben Day dots.

Ready to create some art in the style of Roy Lichtenstein? I made this fun piece using an old vinyl banner. You know that kind that hangs up at school carnivals advertising cola drinks, or promo signs for events? These make fantastic surfaces, and you can paint, cut, color to your heart’s content! So I recycled a local event banner by turning it over and priming the backside with white interior house paint. When dry, I used a black permanent marker to draw out the word POW with exploded lines around it, then got ready to have some fun, Lichtenstein style!

Grab these supplies:

Paint sticks (we love the Kwik Sticks for this!), stacking blocks of different sizes and shapes, bubble wrap, black & white acrylic paint, palette (grab a styrofoam plate)

Mix 2 parts white and one part black paint to mix a grey. Dip the bubble side of the bubble wrap into the paint, wetting the individual bubbles with paint.

Try to keep bubble wrap flat and tap the top to spread the paint evenly across bubble wrap

Lay the bubble wrap paint side down onto the picture, tapping the top to push the paint onto the vinyl canvas. Continue around the canvas, adding the dots that are

Make a spot of black paint on your palette, then dip the raised end of the block into the black paint. Use to make dots (like the benday dots)

Want to find more art by Roy Lichtenstein? Although most pieces you will see are paintings, he also made many types of art including sculpture, murals, prints and ceramics. So lots to look at, discover and learn!


MAKE A Colorful Giraffe Painting

Our colorful long-necked inspiration comes from working Hungarian artist, Anna Briggita Kovacs. I was immediately inspired just looking through her colorful work. She recalls that her highschool art teacher used to call her “queen of color” and I agree with that high compliment. Color makes us happy–vibrant hues recall warm sunny days and playful times. Since the weather today is the exact opposite: wet, dreary, cold and icy (see why I am calling for a forecast of bright colors!), I needed this and thought you might too!

We will not only play with color and some drawing, we will work also with a resist technique. What is resist you might ask? It is when one medium doesn’t like to be friends with the other. Well, maybe they might be friends, but only socially distanced! you can layer or combine the two mediums because they have opposite properties: oil and water. or wax and water. the easy way to see it is when you draw a crayon line (wax) and then paint over it in water color (water). The watercolor will bubble and slide away from the crayon areas. This is a cool techniques to use in many ways…today it is perfect for a colorful giraffe!

I will walk you through the quick drawing steps for our giraffe art, but you find younger artists like to have a sketch in front of them so they can concentrate on developing and playing with color. If so, just print out the pdf above and join me to MAKE some art!

Grab these supplies:

  • watercolor paper
  • watercolors
  • pencil
  • crayons or oil pastels
  • water jar
  • paper towel

SO many artists young and old needed some color in their lives too and created amazing artworks to share with me and now you! Enjoy the rainbow of color and fun! Happy Giraffe MAKE-ing!

The Magic of Miro

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. ” 
– Joan Miro

Fun Facts about Joan Miro

  • Joan Miro was born in 1893 and lived until he was 90 Years old!
  • He has recorded art pieces beginning at age 8 years old! That means he made art for 82 years!!
  • He had his first solo art show when he was only 18 years old
  • He worked with and was influenced by surrealist artists
  • He didn’t just paint, but liked to work with many mediums: sculpture, engraving, watercolors, fibers, lithographs and pastels.
  • Now it’s time to create your own art work inspired by Joan Miró
  • His most important work was made from age 60-age 90!

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit The Joan Miro Foundation in Barcelona. Big color, big weaving, big fun awaited behind the whitewashed walls. I was struck not just by the whimsical nature, but the scale: there were so many huge works of art. It made me think about being bold and brave in creating art. taking risks, throwing caution to the wind: playing with color and paint and shapes. SO that’s what I decided to do for this art lesson: play a game!

Grab your color-makers (markers, paint, crayons, etc) and play along with me!

Loads of you got in on the action: Sherwin sent in his fun picture to share with you, and my boys couldn’t resist making art even after the lesson!

If you play MAKE art with us and Miro- send your pictures to makepaducah@yahoo.com and we will add to this gallery! Have fun!

So go be Miro: play with art today!

Life in the Studio

Life in the studio has ebbed and flowed these past months. Canvases stand empty, but emails go out constantly. Stacks of watercolor papers await new ideas, while I talk to a video screen. I love the new world of connection: meeting people from other places, sharing my love of art with them. How do I find balance among the love of sharing and the joy of creating?

Meanwhile, I contemplate new projects for this year. I am currently working on a commission I love, and it makes me want to do more pieces in that vein. Perhaps I will start one today, meanwhile, I am off to send more emails.

Draw A Horse

Grab your pencils and paper, and spend a little time drawing a horse with me. The spring quarantine of 2020 reminded me how much art can do for you. Drawing and creating use parts of your brain that can help you in so many area of life. Don’t be intimidated, don’t worry- you can do this and have fun!

Here is a gallery of some of the wonderful drawings sent to me by students. After drawing with the video, they customized their artwork by adding details, color and names. You can even add a horn and MAKE a unicorn (don’t forget the rainbow colors and perhaps a little glitter!)

If you want me to add your wonderful artwork to this gallery, send me a photo to makepaducah@yahoo.com. Have fun and keep MAKE-ing art!

Drawing A Jockey Like Degas

“Draw lines, young man, many lines; from memory and from nature – it is in this way you will become a good artist” Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (said to Edgar Degas)

The name Edgar Degas makes me think of twirling ballerinas and beautiful pastel paintings. However, he also loved the horse races, and these works are so fun to use for drawing studies. His beautiful line drawing and composition pulls the viewer into the scene. When Degas drew ballerinas, he used angles and viewpoints to bring the viewer into the picture. He does the same with his horses. So let’s get pulled in and draw together!

As always, I try to use materials you have around your house. Don’t worry if you don’t have everything- the drawing lesson with just a pencil is great to do

  • Heavy paper
  • tea bag
  • cup of warm water
  • pencil and/or charcoal
  • white pastel or white chalk
  • paper towel

If you do this lesson, and want to show it off your drawing: Send it to makepaducah@yahoo.com. I will post it here on this post for all to see and be inspired!

Exploring Creativity Critters

A fun activity to challenge your mind to think like an artist and train your eye to see like an artist.

Creativity is a funny thing. We all have it, but do we train to use it? Like planning runs before a big race or rehearsing pieces on the piano as a recital nears. Creativity is a skill that needs to be honed, no matter our age or interests. The answer to problem-solving and idea creation, even businesses know the importance of cultivating this skill for success, like in this great article.

This exercise uses your brain in a different way. Instead of mimicking a pattern or shape, you use one shape to create a completely new idea (But we will just call it fun- exercise makes it sound like work!)

It’s useful, it’s creative, and most of all it is FUN! Gather some leaves, grab your markers & paper, and watch along to create fun critters (or whatever you create!)