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Mother’s Day Print, inspired by a Sister

My mother and my grandmother brought me up to love art (and I am most grateful).  And if you asked me what artist reminds me most of both of them, it would unquestionably be Sister Corita Kent.

Corita Kent, Mad for Each Other, 1967

I grew up with her colorful and profound prints in my home, and the residences of every maternal relative were graced with her artwork as well.  One of her works hangs in my kids’ bedroom.  She was indeed a nun for a long time with the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary where she also ran the art department for the college.  She began making prints in the 50s, often using quotes from the bible.  In the 60s she turned towards popular culture for her inspiration, using imagery and text from such unlikely sources as advertising and newspapers.  She also regularly used poetry and literature in her work, which is how I learned the wonders of ee cummings.  Her work is simple, eloquent and incredibly comforting to me, as it reminds me of my childhood and my family.  I could go on and on about how much I love Corita and what she did with color and words and imagery.  You can find much more about her at her official website [1].

Corita Kent, Song with an Apple

For this project I turned to a print that hung in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen, called Song with an Apple.  I found a copy of this print in a Corita book when my kid was little, and it was meaningful, not only because it was an image I loved but because he really is the apple of my eye and makes me happy to be his mom.  For our art project, I combined the image of fruit with a process of printing.  Apple (and pear) stamping!

I cut apples in half and let them dry for about an hour.  I cut them horizontally and vertically.  If you cut it horizontally you get a star pattern from the seeds, but vertically will give you more of an apple shape.  We put blobs of paint in bowls, set up our brushes and blank sheets of paper and started stamping.

We found it easier to paint the surface of the apple and then stamping on the paper, putting pressure in a few different spots to get a fully shaped print.

However my kid and I did not find it easier to accomplish this with a littler kid making a giant mess.  A couple of days later my kid and I waited until the little one’s naptime to try again but I was out of apples.  So we tried pears.

We made patterns with color and they turned out beautifully.

I added a stem and some leaves with colored pencil.

I was going to cut them up into individual squares to make mother’s day cards but I liked the prints too much, so we tried framing them instead.  Perfect gift for Nana!  And me, well, I got to get excited about Corita all over again.  And to finish, here is my favorite quote I learned from her (it appears in Mad for Each Other above)…”The thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be afraid,” ee cummings. Now for the instructions…

Fruit Stamping

Prep Time: 10 minutes active, 1 hour drying time
Active Time
: 15 minutes, 1 hour drying time

Hard fruit such as apples or pears
Wax paper or small bowls to hold paint
Colored pencils or markers
Picture frame, if desired

Cut fruit in half in the shape you want to stamp with and let rest for about an hour to dry.  Set up your painting station by putting paint colors on wax paper.  Paint your desired color (or colors) onto the cut side of your fruit and carefully set painted side onto the area of paper you want to stamp.  Press down on the fruit to get even paint distribution.  Repeat wherever you want the image on your paper.  When you are finished, let it dry.  If you want, draw in stems and/or leaves.  Frame your print or cut into smaller pieces and make cards.  Present to your mom and tell her how happy you are to be the apple of her eye.

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[1] website: http://www.corita.org

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