The Power of Painting and Printmaking at the de Young Summer Art Camp

Guest blogger Kelsey Linton takes us inside the de Young Summer Art Camp where we catch up with the Apprentices, Artisans, and Muses and Masters as they learn about this week’s theme, "The Power of Painting and Printmaking."

In gallery

The Apprentices kicked off the week by examining the color wheel and discussing different types of colors, color mixing, and tinting. Using this newfound knowledge, each apprentice then made his or her own wheel.

Color wheel

The following day, the Apprentices studied abstract painting. Their first painting project was marble painting, created using marbles coated in tempera paint. For their second project, the young artists used straws and blew tempera paint around on watercolor paper.

On Wednesday, after viewing the special exhibition Chuck Close and Crown Point Press: Prints and Processes , the young artists created self-portraits using Sharpie pens and tempera paint. They learned about color blocking and how to layer color in their compositions.

Color blocking

To wrap up the week, the Apprentices ventured to the de Young tower’s ninth floor to sketch landscapes, and then spent time making communal artwork in the game “musical drawing.”

Drawing in the tower

The Artisans focused on landscapes the entire week, beginning first by sketching in front of the museum, where they also learned new vocabulary to help best describe their work.


Afterwards, the young artists created masked horizon cityscapes using pastel paper, chalk pastel pencil, and tempera splatter painting—the splattering was a favorite technique.

Splatter painting

The Artisans also spent time sketching at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Each artist chose his or her favorite sketch to enlarge on a piece of coffee-stained paper. After enlarging their sketches, they used turquoise tempera for line painting. Next, the Artisans designed, constructed, and painted three-dimensional landscapes to learn about foreground, middle ground, and background. The young artists enjoyed combining different types of landscapes to invent new versions.

The Muses and Masters began their busy week by sketching nature and landscapes. Then they drew with ink and experimented with dipping techniques using bamboo pens and fine paintbrushes.

Dipping techniques

In the afternoon, they made flat copper sculptures in preparation for the following day, when they rolled paint onto wire and ran it through a press to make prints. These artists then went on to paint their prints with watercolor.

Wire printing

On the next day, the Masters used the linocut technique to make prints. This involved using tools to design and carve out linoleum stamps. Meanwhile, the Muses created Styrofoam prints using animal skeletons as inspiration.

Linocut print

Finally, the Masters and Muses made prints using the collograph technique. Artists created a collage-like surface using textured materials, which was gessoed, painted over, and finally printed.

Collograph technique

It’s always fun to see the campers' artwork hung all over the classroom walls at the end of the week. Each piece is unique and exciting to view, and each evokes a sense of the individual artist who created it. On the final day of camp, artists presented their work to one another.

Group discussion

It was great to see the campers share and talk about their individual work to their new friends and peers. Not only did we see campers with improved confidence in their work, but we also noticed that a definite sense of camaraderie and trust had developed over the week.