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Ken Price: Weather or Not

For Grades K–6

Ken Price (American, 1935–2012). Untitled from the portfolio Heat Wave, 1995. Screen print, edition 138/170. 14 1/8 x 11 inches (35.9 x 27.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Gift of Frederic P. Norton, 2000.

Featuring Ken Price’s Heat Wave, 1995, a portfolio of screen prints on view in Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper, 1962–2010 (September 27, 2013–January 19, 2014)


Featured Work
Background Information for Educators
Glossary Terms
Gallery Visit
In the Classroom
Weather Activity
New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum


Ken Price
(American, 1935–2012)
Heat Wave, 1995
Portfolio of fifteen screen prints, edition 138/170
11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm) each
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Gift of Frederic P. Norton, 2000


Students will:

  • Become familiar with the artist Ken Price and his print portfolio Heat Wave
  • Using discussion, drawing, and collage, learn about the interactions between people and weather through Ken Price’s Heat Wave and two other works of art in the Gallery’s Collection
  • Discover and respond to the theme of weather as inspiration for artmaking and writing poetry 


  • Heat Wave Presentation
  • Three poster boards or large pieces of paper
  • Image-based found paper materials: magazines, catalogues, newspapers, etc.
  • Scissors, glue, and cardstock
  • Black ink, brushes for applying ink, drawing materials (colored pencils suggested), and paper appropriate for ink and drawings
  • Optional: watercolors, screen-printing materials (screens, colored ink, brushes, rubber squeegee), needle, and thread 


Born in Los Angeles, Ken Price began his artistic career at the age of eighteen at Santa Monica City College, going on to earn his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1959. After his first solo exhibition in 1960, his sculpture continued to influence the art world through international exhibitions, while his drawings and prints remained under the radar. (Ken Price’s sculptures Whitey, 2003, and The Sea of Sin, 1961, are both in the Gallery’s Collection.) A member of the West Coast community for most of his life, Price helped foster the eruption of the contemporary art scene in Los Angeles in the 1960s. He exhibited his work at Ferus Gallery along with many other artists, including Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman, Ed Moses, and Ed Ruscha. Price—who died in 2012 at age seventy-seven—drew almost daily for fifty years in a “crisp, sophisticated pop style,” demonstrated by the screen prints in the portfolio Heat Wave.


A portfolio is a multiple number of an artist’s works usually consisting of drawings, prints, or paintings, created to be displayed as a group.

Screen printing is a printmaking technique that uses a method similar to stenciling.

  • A design is cut out of a screen of silk or other fine mesh coated with an impermeable substance.
  • The screen is held in place in direct contact with a printing surface such as paper.
  • Ink is forced across the screen with a squeegee, pushing it through the cut-out areas of the mesh onto the printing surface.
  • After the first print has dried, another screen with different cut-out areas can be aligned and printed in different-colored ink on the same paper. The resulting print, often composed of many different-color layers, is called a silkscreen or a serigraph.
  • A kid-friendly video to show a simple screen-printing process can be found at:

Appropriation is the use of preexisting objects or images with little or no transformation. Artmaking methods that use appropriation include collage, copy machine reproduction, and found objects used in sculpture.


Heat Wave

Visit the Gallery with your students and view the portfolio Heat Wave, 1995. (If you cannot visit, please use the Heat Wave Presentation for discussing the images.) Use the following questions in your discussion of the images:

  • What is a heat wave? Have you ever experienced a heat wave? What ideas or images come to your mind when you hear the words “heat wave”? What is happening outside? What do people do inside?
  • The scenes within this portfolio take place in an imaginary city. View the portfolio at the Gallery or in slides #2–6 in the presentation. Some images are of outside spaces and some are of inside spaces. What is happening in each scene? Are there any clues that a heat wave may be happening? What are they?


Extreme Weather: Storms, Heat Waves, and Snow

Display the Heat Wave Presentation.

As a class, create three lists, using one poster board for each weather event.

  • Heat Wave: Display slides #2–6. Create a list of the evidence you find that indicates a heat wave is taking place and what people are doing in response.
  • Rainstorm: Display slide #8. Create a list of evidence students find within George Inness’s The Coming Storm, 1878, that indicates that a storm is coming and what people and animals are doing as it approaches.
  • Wet, Snowy Day: Display slide #10. Create a list of evidence students find within Claude Monet’s Tow-Path at Argenteuil, ca. 1875, that indicates what season and time of day the painting might represent and what people are doing in response.
  • Pass out the image-based paper materials. Ask the students to go through the materials to find examples that might illustrate each of the lists the class has made, or that might illustrate other weather events. For example, a student may find a landscape showing heat, rain, or another weather event; an image of a house that has been destroyed (evidence of a storm); or an image of a cup of hot chocolate (what they may drink after playing outside in the snow). Ask them to cut out the weather-related images and gather them all together in the classroom.
  • If you have access to a copy machine, copy all the images and have the students work in groups to glue the images to the appropriate boards relating to each artwork: Heat Wave, The Coming Storm, and Tow-Path at Argenteuil. Save the copies of the images to use in the last step of the Weather Activity (directly below). 


Have students create a scene that reflects their impression of a weather event of their choice, using the images and words you have discussed and viewed as inspiration.

  • Have your students use black ink to make a drawing, choosing to show either an outdoor or an interior scene that would occur during their chosen weather event. Once the drawing is dry, have them add color with the drawing materials or watercolors. If they need reference, they can use the images you have copied.
  • If you decide to make a screen print, create the drawing with thick black markers instead of ink, and use your art teacher or the video about screen printing as a guide.
  • Allow students to create freely, adding additional images by collaging the copies you made directly onto their ink drawings. You can have a discussion about how some of the images are appropriated from other sources and how some are their own creations. They can choose to use glue or a needle and thread to attach the images.

Reflection for Discussion or Writing

  • In a group: As a class, decide which weather event each finished artwork represents by finding evidence within the image.
  • In pairs: Choose a partner’s artwork and decide which weather event he or she depicted by finding evidence within the artwork.
  • As individuals: What evidence did you put in your artwork to tell your viewer about the weather event it depicts?

Reflection for Poetry Writing

For developing vocabulary to write a poem about weather themes, please use our worksheet.

  • Ask students to write a weather theme in the blue box.
  • Ask students to pay very close attention to the artwork about their selected weather theme and write four words or phrases that describe it in the orange ovals.
  • Ask students to look at the words they have written in each orange oval and write additional words or phrases that come to mind in the purple ovals. For example, when looking at George Inness’s The Coming Storm, a student may have written the descriptive words “cloudy” and “cold,” so words for the purple circles might include “rainy,” “silver lining,” “ice cream,” or “snowman.” Have them use all the circles if they can.

Have each student write a poem with the following tips:

  • Encourage them to think of the feeling or idea they want to portray in their poem.
  • The words in the word web are good starting places if they are stuck.
  • Explain how using short words can make the poem sound choppy and how using long words can slow the poem down.
  • Some literary devices that can be used are alliteration, personification, or anaphora (see Glossary of Selected Literary Devices). 


  • New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts, including the museum visit) 1, 2, 3, 4
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 4, 6
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing 2, 3, 4, 5, 10