Wednesday, October 16, 2013

#3 Blending Colour, Transforming Spaces

Learning Areas: The Arts- creating and making, exploring and responding, Thinking Processes - creativity, inquiry, reflection,  Inter-personal Learning, Science, Health and Physical Education- gross motor skills,manipulative skills, English -speaking and listening, vocabulary extension
Materials: water colour paints (high pigment), thick and medium brushes, large paint trays, at least two buckets of water, A3 sheets of paper of 130gsm or higher (otherwise they get really soggy!), scissors, bluetack, smocks 

Tuning in: Lets read!

You all know how much I love to begin with a good illustrated story book or two. 
We've been exploring colour - where it comes from, the moods and feelings it can evoke. Today we are going to play with blending and separating colours. 
I have a great book here which really illustrates separated colours: Mozzie and Midgie by Doug Macleod and illustrated by Sandy Okalyi 
We take our time to look at each page and the children share what they notice - the book has some very funny parts and a great message about being unique. 

Then we read a book that shows blending colour: Flood by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. 
Flood was written to remember the devastating 2010-2011 Queensland floods (Australia). It has themes about loss, bravery, volunteering and community spirit. We notice how the watery, dripping use of water-colour is sympathetic with the book's themes and how the cool colours and earth tones give the book a sad, moody feeling. 
Creating and Making: Colour Targets

We are going to use water-colour paint and heavy paper to blend and separate colour.
Lets all turn out artist ears on to listen to the instructions.
On the floor in trays are water-colour paints in different colours. In the buckets are water to dip or wash your brush. The paint has a lot of pigment in it so you only need to use a little to get a good effect. 
We are going to start by choosing one colour of paint to make a circle on the paper. Then while that paint is still wet, we are going to paint another circle either just inside the first circle or just outside it – just like a target.  Use your artist eyes to discover new colours which are made when the colours blend.
Each page can fit about three or four targets. When you have filled a page, we are going to put them in the sun to dry.
Watercolour Targets Image Copyright Heather Marsh 2013

Primary colours: red, blue, yellow 
Secondary colours: orange, purple, green

I would like to acknowledge Heather Smith Jones' wonderful resource Water, Paper, Paint for the colour targets idea. I really recommend this book!

Technique: Working with water colour 

We are going to use some paint techniques today:
-Dipping your brush in water and wiping off
- Picking up the right amount of paint
- Washing between colours - not letting the colours mix on the brush and turn to brown

*I won't bore you with the details but basically I spend a good two minutes here talking the children through very explicit instructions: wetting their brush, wiping off just enough water so that the brush doesn't drip, picking up some pigment, washing the brush and wiping off in-between colours. I consider this important as listening to and being able to follow instructions is something preps and ones are really working on. 

Controlled Chaos...  *please note it's illegal to re-post images of children without parental permission

Exploring – Artist Feature: Yayoi Kusama 
I would like to introduce you to a special artist today. I find this artist very inspiring. Her name is Yayoi Kusama.
From a young age Yayoi saw the world in a different way – she could see dots everywhere. She uses a lot of colourful polka-dots in her work.
Yayoi mainly does paintings, sculptures and installation. Does anyone know what an installation is?
It is placing the artwork so that it takes up a space – not just on a wall. The idea is for the art to transform that space.  Installation art is 3 dimensional and can often include the audience (in that the audience can sometimes be inside the artwork if the art takes up a whole room). 

I show them images of some of Yayoi's artworks. They are very large and colourful. The children are fascinated by the 'Infinity Rooms' which use mirrors and illuminated colourful spheres to make it look as though  you are in an endless space filled with floating orbs. 

Image via ABC Radio National page - awaiting photo credit 

More Making: Our own installation 

Lets get our colour targets now and cut them out.
We are going to use them to transform a space – just like Yayoi Kusama.
Cut out the dots and put a dob of blue tack on the back of each one.
We are going to transform the alcove in the senior building. You can stick your dots anywhere you like - on the walls, the furniture, even the ceiling!

The teachers have a ladder and the children instruct us where to stick their colour targets (if they are too high for the children to reach themselves). 

Lets talk about our work:
What did you notice about blending and separating colour?
What did you like about making an installation? How does it transform the space?

New Vocabulary Blend & Separate, pigment, installation, primary & secondary colours

Further Resources
Book: 21st century art for kids, Queensland Art Gallery 

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