Making colours from the landscape
You will need:
A3 paper (one per person), divided into blocks
Paint – red, yellow, blue, black and white
Polystyrene or plastic trays for mixing paint
Newspapers to protect table surfaces
To the Teacher
Painting lessons alway require careful preparation. Powder paints should be mixed before the class start to a consistency like fresh cream, not too watery or to thick. (You can keep the mixed paints in bottles with screw-on lids and they will remain useable for a long time)
When the students are experimenting with mixing their own colours in the first part of this activity they only need the primary colours (red, blue and yellow) plus black and white. These should be on a tray which three of four students can share. But they will each need their own mixing palette.
If we were to limit ourselves to colours as they come manufactured in paint sets, our paintings would look similar, and very boring. There are so many more colours in the world that can be created from your set of paints!
This first activity is designed to develop your colour-mixing skills and also to teach you how to use your paintbrushes.
Before beginning to paint, we are going to discover what colours we can find in our immediate environment – both natural and artificial or synthetic. The reason for this is threefold. Firstly, it will open your eyes to the colours in your surroundings. Secondly, it will enable you to compare colours, and to grade from light to dark, and warm to cool; and lastly, it will give you interesting and challenging colours to match, extending your colour-mixing skills.
Begin by dividing into about six or seven teams. Each team will search for a different colour group – blues, greens, browns, yellows, reds and oranges, and greys and whites.
Each team will go outside and hunt for objects within their colour group. Collect as many different examples of your assigned colour as possible. This requires observation skills: notice the subtle differences between different grasses, soils and stones, tree bark and leaves around you. Don’t only look for natural things – there could be pieces of paper, plastic, or tin, that fit your group’s colour too.
Once back inside, carefully examine your colours, and arrange them from light to dark, and from warm to cool.
Now, remembering your colour-mixing exercises from Book 2, you will mix again. But this time the challenge will be greater: try to match the exact hues and shades that you found in your colour search.