Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blending Analogous Colors

 For years I have motivated my primary students with picture books relevant to the art project that I planned to teach them. But, since last summer, when I had the opportunity to take not ONE, but, TWO teacher institutes, in DC, I have started to incorporate art posters to motivate my students in ALL grade levels!

I learned magnificent ways to incorporate art posters into my teaching. You can find one of those activities here.

Getting incredible feedback from students when using the art posters, has motivated me to pull out, and plan lessons around them.

And that is what I did last week in my art room.  My inspiration was Helen Frankenthaler's painting titled Blue Atmosphere.  Students were encouraged to look at the reproduction poster and tell me what they thought about it. And why. Most of them liked the colors, how they blended and how they could find different shapes in it. Some didn't like the color red or that it was abstract. I was glad they were able to share that with me. I did a really short power point to show my students more of Frankenthaler's work along with photos of her working in her studio.

 I modeled for the students how I used (water soluble) markers to make shapes-both geometric or organic and how I used a paint brush with water to spread out or dilute the colors and we watched how they blended together.

Then I explained to them how I had set up the tables with analogous colors which are colors next to each other on the color wheel. And that I did this so their work would not turn brown, by accidentally using complementary colors. At the red table they would find red, yellow and orange markers. Yellow table had yellow, blue and green markers. And red, blue and purple were on the blue table.  They were expected to do 3 different pictures, one at each table on watercolor paper.

 When students were finished I had them display all three pieces together and hold a discussion with their table mates. They were to pick out the best one and explain why, tell which order they were done in and decide if we could tell that they were all by the same artist. Was there something that tied them together?

This simple project was really enjoyed by my students. I loved listening to them discuss all the colors they made when blending them and how excited they got. The funny thing is I don't even know what made me think of using markers to do this.  Except, of course, all the paint had been packed up. The gel sticks from Faber-Castell would have worked for this project........yes..... that's been packed up!

Three more student contact days and two more afterwards to finish packing... taking a deep breath!

Thanks for reading!!!


  1. Great idea! Thank you so much for sharing. This looks like something the kids would love!

  2. My pleasure! My students really did enjoy this. I will be doing it again!