Teachingartonthecheap's Blog

Filler Lesson: Warm and Cool colors

Posted on: November 10, 2009

Creative Reuse Lesson Plan   Week   9  Grade   K-5

1st Trimester Whitman ES 2009-2010  written by Keri Piehl for SCRAP

Warm and Cool colors

Cost per student: $.03 to $.15 depending on variations in your materials

Materials: warm colored crayons or oil pastels (an art college in town donated a box of warm colored pastels, that inspired this lesson), cool colored watercolors (I have both individual pans and liquid watercolors I can portion into bowls), brushes, white paper (I have white scalloped edged placemats from Scrap for the kindergarteners), newspaper, water cups and water, paint samples, art books

Students will be able to identify and group warm and cool colors and understand their use in examples of artwork; create an artwork showcasing warm and cool colors.

Vocabulary: warm, cool, color, advance, recede

1. Hand out a paint chip to each child, reserve several for yourself. Show the class various artworks that rely on warm or cool colors as a theme (ie VanGogh’s Sunflowers, Picasso’s Le Gourmet). Ask them what they notice about the paintings. Have the kids hold up their paint chip if they see it represented in the painting.

2. Talk about the purpose of warm and cool colors in art.

Warm colors are vivid in nature. They are bold and energetic. Warm colors are those that tend to advance in space; therefore, caution needs to be taken so you do not overwhelm your content with eye catching hues. If an element in your design needs to pop out, consider using warm colors to do that.

Cool colors are soothing in nature. They give an impression of calm and rarely overpower the main content or message of a design. Cool colors tend to recede; therefore, if some element of your design needs to be in the background, give it cool tones.

Have the students form 2 groups based on their paint chips: kids with warm colors, and kids holding cool colors. After they’ve formed two groups ask the kids of they agree with how their classmates selected for warm and cool colors.

3. Back at their seats, hand out paper and tubs of either warm colored crayons (for grades K-1) or oil pastels (grades 2-5). Instruct the kids to draw something, to fill up the page with their subject (not like a tiny, cramped doodle in the center of the page) and use more than one warm color. Remind them warm colors draw focus, so to concentrate on bold lines that define their subject.

4. Get set up for watercolor painting. With the K-1 kids, I have large brushes and cups of diluted cool colored liquid watercolors. For the older kids, I have medium sized brushes and individual pans of green, blue and purple paints for each student to use, along with their own water dish.

Students should use the cool colors to fill in the background of their artwork, from edge to edge to provide the maximum impact.

5. Allow to dry; display! I have been working hard to remind the 2-5 graders how to properly use brushes and watercolors; many students tend to over saturate the pans of paint and it results in muddied color and waste. No digging and no scrubbing! Smooth pulls of the brush across the page and across the pans of paint.

Reflections and feedback: With the older kids, if they are not sure what to draw with their oil pastels, I have a bin of faux floral pieces; various flowers and leaves. I might suggest they choose 3 and arrange them to inspire a composition, since it would result in success due to their familiarity with the subject matter.


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