I’ve always been drawn to resist art. For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, resist art is art that is created by layering two different and incompatible mediums (or techniques) together, and then removing one to reveal the space beneath. You see it used a lot with negative space art- people will put down washi tape (or another type of tape) in the letters or image that they don’t want the paint to color, and then paint all around it. Once they’re finished, they remove the tape and then TA DA, color everywhere except where the tape was. All those “In This House” or “Family Rules” signs that have tutorials everywhere on the internet? Resist art.
These types of programs are a wonderful time to bring out the books and materials not only on the great painters of the world, but also on photography, color theory, wavelength, color science, and material science. After all, how we see color and how these different materials react are the entire reason why we have resist art and why people like different things, and this easily makes a painting session turn into an excellent STEAM program.
One of the things a lot of us have probably done in school is crayon resist art. It’s relatively easy to do yet it can turn out amazing.
- Lightly trace out your image onto your paper.
- Go over every line with white crayon as HARD AS POSSIBLE
- Using watercolors paint the background
- Paint the image
- Let dry
I’ve done this with normal paper, with card stock, and with canvas, and they’ve all turned out well. I’ve done this with normal Crayola watercolors and with higher level watercolors, and as can be expected the higher level watercolors turned out better. The images that the teens turned out were amazing. The projects can be as small or as big as you want them to be, it all depends on what you and your teens want. I’ve never done a theme with resist art as I love to just let them go, but I think you’d certainly be able to if you want.
Another medium that I’ve used is glue resist. It’s just regular Elmer’s glue (the white one we all have in the library), and we put it on card stock, construction paper, art canvases, or other mediums. Typically I’ve used patterns for this type of art as for me it just seems to turn out better than letters, icons, or other images. It could just be me and I am the first to admit that I am the worst artist around. With glue resist, I had the teens draw out patterns ahead of time or research what patterns they wanted to attempt, and then traced them out lightly on to their canvas either freehand or using transfer paper. Then we went over the patterns with glue. After the glue dried (a lot of times it was thin enough we could do this in a couple of hours, but occasionally it would be a two-day project), we would go over it with another color. On DIY Candy they use spray paint, but I’ve had really good luck with creating washes with acrylic paints- mixing parts water to parts paint to create a thin paint that would cover the glue and the media without getting that clumpy and nasty effect that acrylic can get.
The easiest by far of the resist paintings that I’ve found that tweens and teens love is tape resist painting. I’m not sure if it’s the immediate patterns that they can lay out, or the satisfaction of getting a finished product that actually seems like “ART” to them (it’s like REAL FANCY art, Miss) but this is the type that they love the most. It’s also the easiest to do both setup-wise and instruction-wise, so it’s a win-win on either side. For tape resist painting, you need:
- non-sticking tape (painters tape, washi tape)
- material to paint on (canvas, card stock, old shoes, etc.)
- paint brushes
Have your teens plan out their patterns ahead of time so that they only have to set down their tape once. It is NOT fun to hear a teen say, “But MISS, I NEED to build an ELEPHANT and I don’t know HOW” and they have some weird thing in the middle of their paper. After they have a plan, have them figure out how to translate that into tape. Then and ONLY then give them tape. And SUPERVISE them with the tape- if your teens are like mine, you could end up with taped mouths, fingers, or hair in short order.
After they have the pattern taped, let them loose with the paints. Once they have their project completed and painted to their heart’s content, gently remove the tape. You should have their pattern in sharp relief against the paint. If they want a subtle contrast, have them use colors that are close to the base color of their medium or material; if they want more of a sharper contrast, have them use bolder or more contrasting colors.
What types of resist art do you do with your teens?