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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Exploring Color for Kids

On reading my recent blogs about comparing color temperatures, Laura Lemley of Potomac Valley Watercolorists in the Washington, DC area, emailed the following (used with her permission):

In addition to painting, I teach children 6 to 18 years old. They are just as excited as your adults to learn to recognize the warm to cool range in watercolor paints. I started the 8 weeks of lessons with the color wheel…they learned color mixing for the colors other than primaries. First they arrange all my tubes of a particular color from warm to cool by guessing. The color stripe and name sometimes give them clues. I take off all the caps and I read the name of the color to them as they take turns painting a ½” wide stripe from pure to tint on a “chart” (long narrow strip of watercolor paper. When they see that one is out of place, we mark it to be cut and put in the correct order. Afterwards they select three they like from the chart and do a painting. There was an outstanding painting of a brown red horse in an orange red tall grass field with a warm red tinted sky by an eight year old! The older children chose to make a pop art collage of red objects from magazines to make a bouquet including tints, pure color and shades. If you have any teachers who need ideas, you might pass along my enthusiasm for painting color with your guidance!

What a fun way for kids--or anyone--to play with color. Thirty years ago one of my boys took an introductory art course and they painted one color in each class, attempting to make a perfect color wheel by the end of the semester. No wonder he hated art class! (He turned out to be a fantastic potter, though.)

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