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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Color Wheel Lesson

One of the best ways to help people understand color is by creating a color wheel. There are an infinite number of variations for this project for any age and capability level.

Basic Project

You will need paper, something to color with (paint is the best) and scissors.

To learn the basics about color
How to mix a specific color
Learn about basic color schemes including complimentary, split complementary, analogous, monochromatic, cool, warm and a triad.

When I did art lessons over the summer, I had the boys trace a plate from the kitchen to create a circle, cut it our and fold it in 6ths. I then had him color in every other section one of the primary colors (red, blue and yellow). We then talked about how mixing two of the colors would create another color that can go in the blank spaces. If you have paint and can actually mix the colors this will work best.

Once the color wheel is complete, you can talk about color schemes and how colors work together. A good list to start with is complimentary, split complementary, analogous, cool, warm and a triad. If you are using paint you can easily explain a monochromatic color scheme.

Edible Color Wheel

When I worked at the Cathedral Home for children, I was fortunate to be able to work with both the art teacher and art therapist. I saw how art can impact people and change kids lives.

One of the basic projects that I sat in on used Nilla Wafers, food coloring and frosting to talk about color. The students were each given the choice of doing a monochromatic color scheme or creating a color wheel.

Each student was given 6 cookies. The teacher and I placed spoonfuls of frosting on paper plates and added drops of food coloring. For example if a student wanted to create a red monochromatic color school they would get 6 small spoonfuls of frosting and 6 drops would go in the first spoonful of frosting. The students would then mix the frosting and food coloring to create 6 different colors or values. They then put the frosting on the cookies and get to eat them.

Art Therapy Color Wheel

After creating the color wheel of choice, have the patient pick a color, or color scheme, to use for a drawing of a self portrait, or a drawing of an emotion.  The drawing can be anything that represents them.

Why did you pick those colors?
Why did you place yourself....?
Who/what is that with you?
If you had to add another color what would it be and why?
Are these you favorite colors?  Why?

Tech Savvy Color Wheel

A color wheel could be created using Adobe Illustrator or another program. This project could serve as an introduction to the program and the way color works on a computer.

Directions for this color wheel

Use the Ellipse tool (l) to create a circle.  Hold shift to create a perfect circle.Use the line segment tool to to draw a line in the center of the circle.Copy and paste a second line in front of the first.  Rotate about a third of the way around the circle.

Use various tools to fill in the color wheel.
I used the paintbrush tool for yellow,
the pathfinder, ellipse and rectangle tools  for green,
the pen for blue and purple,
the ellipse tool for red and
the type tool for orange.

More Variations

Teach someone to sew a pillow case or potholders, cross stitch, or embroidery a color wheel.

Challenge a student to create a fancy color wheel out of images that are a specific color.

Instead of using only primary and secondary colors, include 5 or more hues in-between the two primary colors. You can include shades and tints.

Have students find objects that fit in each of the basic 6 color sections. Then have them mix the exact color of the object. Cardboard is one of the hardest colors to match perfectly.


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