Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…

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A few weeks ago, I was going through my iPhoto files. I was scrolling— looking for shots to process in Photoshop and caught a glimpse of photos of student work from years ago. Fond remembrance was in the back of my mind when I visited the Legion of Honor last week. The project had been one of my favorites and highly successful with my 7th and 8th graders (not measured by a bubble test, but by student rubric and teacher observation!) but there had been a struggle on my part to find graphics of hands in order to introduce the project. I do not remember what my solution was at the time, but at the Legion of Honor, I had a do-over. Thank you Rodin. Now, if ever given the chance again, I can introduce the project easily.

I further processed the hand pictures I took last week by putting them in Blender app and layering two of the images together and then into Pic Grunger, which just had an update and now includes some textures to layer, also. (Great update!) Then into Impression app to put my name on the corner. (This also has a new update where you can choose different fonts, colors, and transparencies.) Too cool.

The Project: A “Handbook” for the Art Room

Each student was given a piece of ribbon that they draped around their non-drawing hand. (When they drew on their 5″x7″ piece of paper, the ribbon needed to start and end on the mid-point on the edges of the paper in the landscape direction.) They did a light sketch in pencil and then used black ink, shading with a variety of textures and dividing the background into sections with patterns. I took the finished drawings and made copies of each one and then my students got one copy from each member of the class to attach together into an accordion book. We had made paste papers that were used to cover cardboard for the covers. Each student also used plaster gauze to make a mold of their hands that were painted (including patterns in a contrast color) and attached to the front cover. A ribbon was threaded through the hand to tie the book closed.

The students took the original ink drawing and mounted it in the middle of black tag board with a four-inch border. Then they extended the sections and patterns into the frame using metallic colored pencils and pens.