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Arts & Activities - Page 18

Paint Streams & Color Schemes by Paula Guhin swept analogous color washes onto a damp sheet of paper, using a fat watercolor brush loaded with paint. This background color would be the first step of an easy, yet memorable, lesson in color harmony and watercolor painting. We first discussed analogous color schemes before each student painted his or her own light washes as a background on watercolor paper. I displayed several finished exemplars, and wrote a list of analogous colors on the board. And, a large color wheel held a prominent place in the classroom. Next, we allowed the thin washes to dry while I demonstrated the second step on my own, dry example. I placed a drop of dark paint at the bottom edge, and used a drinking straw to blow it upward in branch-like lines. I was well aware that my Art I students probably experienced a similar exercise in the lower grades, yet I asked them to do it again. And they loved it. Wait a minute! Highschoolers? Yes, big kids were transported back to their “youth” with this activity. “Chase that droplet up the page with your drinking straw,” I instructed. “Wiggle that straw!” Note: Use very dark, related watercolor paint for this step, or substitute permanent ink in black or dark colors. Remind students that a few drops go a long way and, if they overdo the blown lines, they’ll have no room for the next step. When the twig-like lines were dr y, I asked the ar tists to begin adding a few flower heads with watercolors. These could be painted from life (unfor tunately, my classroom floral arrangements were faux flowers, not real), or from floral photos. Some students used their imaginations and created their own flowers. I suggested also that the artists paint in a few leaves and buds for added interest. Too, I reminded them to balance their compositions and to vary the sizes. Finally, I urged them to mix colors in petals and leaves to create a more complex painting. This lesson can be modified easily to suit the needs of younger students. Rather than analogous colors, use warms or cools, primary or secondary colors. Is this assignment worth doing? I think so. It’s one time when “blowing it” is a good thing! n Paula Guhin is retired from teaching art at Central High School in Aberdeen, S.D., and serves as a Contributing Editor for Arts & Activities. 18 I LEARNING OBJECTIVES High-school students will . • explore the properties of watercolor paint and watercolor paper. • practice skills using wet-into-wet and wet-on-dry techniques. • create a balanced work of art utilizing analogous colors and a floral theme. MATERIALS • • • • • Watercolor paper Drinking straws Paper towels Protective paint shirts (optional) Waterproof ink (optional) • • • • Color wheel Photos of flowers or flower arrangements Watercolors, brushes, water containers Old newspapers to cover desks students used a brush handle to press “stem” and “grass” lines into the wet paint when creating the background. april 2013 • 80 years x

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