Magazine article Arts & Activities

INTO THE MIX Painting with Intensity

Magazine article Arts & Activities

INTO THE MIX Painting with Intensity

Article excerpt

You know it. I know it. Beginners in art want to use pure color, straight from the container. Asking them to create their own subtle variations of color is sometimes futile. Requiring it, in an assignment designed for that sole purpose, is a different story. And, here's the story.

My high school Art I class understood the color wheel and complements. They quickly grasped the concept of value. With this new project, a study in color mixing, I would be introducing intensity as well.

First, though, I asked the students to draw about 15 lines criss-crossing each other, from one edge of their support to the other (we used 11" x 14" white railroad board). The lightly penciled lines could be straight, curvy, zigzagged or a combination. I suggested that some lines be drawn close together and others farther apart, for variety.

Soon we were ready to discuss color schemes. I requested a three-color harmony which could be, but was not necessarily, triadic. In other words, a student could choose the three primaries or three secondaries (a triad of colors equidistant from each other), or could use three warms, three cools or three analogous colors.

I provided tempera paint, brushes and mixing palettes. I also "walked" my class through the project step-by-step. Their first task: simply pick one of their three colors and fill in three shapes with that pure color (yes, straight from the bottle). Next, add white to that color in the palette, in ever-increasing amounts, and paint three shapes in those high values. …

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