Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Warm and Cool Color Exploration with Kandinsky

I begin this lesson by introducing or reviewing color theory and the color wheel. We talk about primary and secondary colors. We also discuss complimentary colors or color opposites and how those combination are always the result of a pairing of one primary color with a secondary color. We also explore how the complimentary colors are made up of a warm color and a cool color and how they site across form each other on the color wheel.

Red(a warm primary color) is the compliment(opposite) of Green( a cool secondary color)

Blue(a cool primary color) is the compliment(opposite) of Orange( a warm secondary color)

Yellow(a warm primary color) is the compliment(opposite) of Purple(a cool secondary color)

Depending on the age of the group, we will talk about tertiary colors too and how we can remember color theory with a little bit of math.

A primary color plus a primary color equals a secondary color.  1+1=2
A secondary color plus a primary color equals a tertiary color. 2+1=3

 This piece looks deceptively simple, but keeping the color pattern can be tricky for some kids. 

We started by folding cardstock in half one direction and then in half again in the other direction so that you end up with four boxes.

We then drew diagonal lines in one box, starting in the middle and radiating outward. 

This was repeated on the remaining three boxes so that all the lines would match up at the folds. 

When color was added with watercolor pencils, the students were asked to add them in an alternating pattern of warm and cool.

I kept a chart on the white board to help reminded them which colors were in which category.

Color is added in such a way as that the warm cool pattern continues both from the center to the sides of each color.

Once all the color was added we use Q-tips to add water and blend

This lesson is of course an exploration of Vassily Kandinsky's color studies, so it is also a perfect time to discuss this artist and how he recognized the correlations between art, math, and music.


Holly said...


I am new to the art blog world. I thought I would let you know your Kandinsky post inspired me to work on this project with my daughter:

Thanks!! Love your blog!

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