Sunday, July 8, 2012

Paintings Take Us Places

The Kindergarteners as well as the 1st graders at Coonley, learned about how to mix secondary colors from primary colors.  
Next, we looked at paintings by several different artists such as Rousseau and Matisse, and we talked about how artists take us places through their paintings.  

I let the students choose between the categories of "above ground", "below ground" "underwater" or "on the ground" for their painted subject.  The students then used crayon to draw what they wanted to paint on a large piece of cardboard that had a border around it to make it more like a window.  Students drew everything from castles to fish to underground tunnels. 

Next, I had them distinguish the background in their painting, by finding and painting that first. 

Then, they used their knowledge and interest in color mixing to complete their paintings.  Along the way, we discussed how artists like Van Gogh use brush strokes to describe the way objects grow and move.  
Below are just a few of the paintings that the kids created.  They are pretty great and very diverse in subject matter, color choices and painting style. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2nd Grade Still Life Paintings

Armed with the knowledge and awe of color mixing, 2nd grade students went on to paint their drawn still life.  I asked them to paint the background first, a single color of their choice.  I requested that it be a tint because then it would not stand out quite as much as the things in the front. 
Students spent a long time painting these.  Most students were very engaged the entire time.   They spent a lot of time mixing colors that they wanted for each object.  They referenced photographs of the still life when they wanted to. 

Other students struggled to stay engaged in painting, partially because they are such young kids.  Next time, I think I will have students draw and observe a still life, but will have them use watercolors instead of tempera paint.  
The best things to come out of this project were the students' profound interest in color mixing and their interest and confidence in drawing from observation.

Below are come examples of paintings both in process and complete.  Those students who were able to fully engage and persist made come absolutely fabulous work.  Keep in mind that the students mixed all of the colors you see from only the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and white. 

Along the way the students learned about brush strokes and how artists use lines to show how forms are round or flat and to lead the viewers eye in the right direction.  We also learned that each object has many colors in it, not just one.  There may be 20 kinds of green in just one pasture!   Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin were some of the artists we learned from. 

Carlie did an amazing job color mixing as she tried to match the colors she saw in some objects. 


We Love Mixing Colors!

Students in 2nd grade explored color mixing.  Two students shared a paint palette (a large plastic container with a lid) that had the primary colors on it.   Students completed a color wheel, learning about how primary colors make secondary colors and browns.   Although the color wheel exercise is a little tired perhaps, the 2nd graders enjoyed the power and awe that comes from being able to mix so many colors from just three. 

I had the 2nd graders learn about tints and shades as well.  This was challenging for them, but they were able to grasp adding white for tints, and loved mixing more colors. 

 Next, we had a fun day of just mixing colors as each student engaged in the challenge of "how many colors can you mix from just three?".  I also gave the kids white paint on their palettes, so they could mix tints.   The kids absolutely LOVED making these color swatches.  I think doing this from the start without doing a color wheel first would also be a fun way to explore color mixing, especially if the students recorded their findings like scientists (and artists) and shared them with their peers. 

I wish I had a photo of just how many swatches were made by all three 2nd grade classrooms.   This is only a fraction of the total.  It was so wonderful to hear the students sharing how they mixed a certain color with a friend, as they mixed even more. They also offered each other advice on how to get a certain color. 

I also had the upper grade students learn about and mix secondary, tertiary and complimentary colors, so that they could apply that knowledge when painting their masks.   The color wheel above is more complex than the one the 2nd graders used.