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de Youngsters Studio: Mixed-Media Collage Inspired by Ronald Lockett’s “Poison River”

Think of a habitat and animal that you wish to protect; the habitat and animal could be close to your own home or from somewhere far away. Using painting, collaging, and drawing techniques, the following activity will help you create a mixed-media collage that shows your chosen habitat and animal in a healthy, nourished state.


Ronald Lockett, Poison River, 1988. Wood, tin, nails, stones, industrial sealing compound, and enamel on wood, 48 1/2 x 61 1/4 in. (123.2 x 155.6 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2017.1.35. © 2020 Estate of Ronald Lockett / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Process photographs by Jennie Smith

Collection Connection

Like the artist Ronald Lockett, many of us have concerns for the environment. In Lockett’s Poison River (1988), enamel paint—red, white, and black, with hints of blue—whirl around the surface in a way that is reminiscent of an oil spill. The title of the piece is Poison River, but can you see a river? The poison from the oil spill may make it challenging to see the life within the water. If you look very carefully, you may be able to make out a tree, deer, or fish.

Materials

Questions to Consider

de Youngsters Studio: Mixed-Media Collage Inspired by Ronald Lockett’s “Poison River”

Steps

1. Cover the entire surface of your paper with a watercolor wash, using mostly water with just a little paint.

2. While the paint dries, tear and cut your collage elements.

3. Create your habitat! Spend some time playing with different ways of arranging (composing) and layering your collage elements, then glue elements into place.

de Youngsters Studio: Mixed-Media Collage Inspired by Ronald Lockett’s “Poison River”

4. On a separate sheet of paper, make a light sketch of your animal. Draw from your imagination or a visual reference. Once you are happy with your sketch, use paint or drawing tools of your choice to complete your animal. With your chosen materials, create the texture and patterns of your animal.

de Youngsters Studio: Mixed-Media Collage Inspired by Ronald Lockett’s “Poison River”

5. Cut out your animal and glue into your habitat!

6. Take a look at your mixed-media collage to see if you would like to add any other details.

de Youngsters Studio: Mixed-Media Collage Inspired by Ronald Lockett’s “Poison River”

Reflect

After creating your mixed-media collage, consider the following questions:

  • What elements or steps did you most enjoy during the process?
  • What makes your chosen habitat and animal special to you?
  • What concerns do you have for it? What could we do to help make the vision in your artwork a reality? (What can we do to ensure your habitat stays clean and healthy?)

Share

Have fun creating your hopeful piece of art! Take your time cutting, collaging, drawing, and painting. When you are finished, find a friend or family member with whom you can share your mixed-media collage. Use the reflection questions above as part of the conversation.

We would love to see what you make too, so please tag us on any social platform using the hashtag #deyoungsters or email families@famsf.org.

Watch how to make a mixed-media collage
 

Image credits:

  • Ronald Lockett, Poison River, 1988. Wood, tin, nails, stones, industrial sealing compound, and enamel on wood, 48 1/2 x 61 1/4 in. (123.2 x 155.6 cm). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation from the William S. Arnett Collection, 2017.1.35. © 2020 Estate of Ronald Lockett / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Process photographs by Jennie Smith
  • Process photographs by Jennie Smith