Magazine article School Arts

Tints, Shades, and Delicious Illusions

Magazine article School Arts

Tints, Shades, and Delicious Illusions

Article excerpt

A collective gasp of delight was heard in the hallway as students feasted on the sight of luscious cakes and frostings in Wayne Thiebaud's composition, Cake Window. I have found that these mouth-watering desserts get children hungry to learn about tints and shades after studying the color wheel.

Illusion of Dimension

A rich chocolate cake becomes a good way to discuss how Thiebaud creates the illusion of three-dimensional cakes by drawing shapes with lines, and painting light and dark sides on the desserts. As students observed light and shadow in Wayne Thiebaud's paintings and in our classroom, they discovered that the shadows of objects cover the areas farthest away from the light source. Students also observed that Thiebaud used complementary colors, instead of tints and shades, to amplify the light and shadow effects in his paintings. Thiebaud calls this technique "halation."

Fantasy Cakes

As students began fantasizing about the cake they would like to paint, they did a simple exercise with tint and shade. They divided their paper into three columns. The first column showed a hue, the second column showed a mixture of the hue with white, and the last column showed the same hue mixed with black. A sample of five hues gave the students a good idea of how to create tints and shades. Along the way, students delighted in naming each new color as a fantasy cake flavor.

When it came time to draw, students broke down the triangular layered cake shapes into two or three "v" shapes, pointing downward, and added vertical lines to connect the sides, with a curved line over the top of the cake. …

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