Saturday, November 12, 2016

Secondary Pumpkin Patches

A few weeks ago, on a cold and windy Friday night (brrrrr!), my family traveled to an away football game to cheer for #57, Nick Vasco. My family loves him. While cheering from the stands my phone rang. It was a tired and frustrated coworker, busy decorating cupcakes for her daughters birthday party. Her "purple" frosting was GRAY and dreary! How could she fix it?! I talked her through it, the frosting was perfectly purple, and mom was relieved! Birthday treat success! A week or so later, our school nurse told me that she also made cupcakes with a young lady who helped her to figure out how to make purple frosting! How did the young lady helper know what to do to save the day?! She applied what she'd learned from art class! That's right. It's more than googly eyes and craft sticks. There are many real world applications for what we learn it in art class.

Colors have families. Yep. Like you and me, they have families. They don't have parents and cousins and family dogs, but they're grouped together in special ways that make learning about color much easier. We began our year learning about the primary color family comprised of red, yellow, and blue. No matter how hard you try, no matter what combination of colors you mix, you absolutely cannot make them yourself. They are each one pure color, not a combination of other colors. Because we cannot mix them ourselves, these colors need to be purchased. After learning all about the primary colors and artists (like Roy Lichtenstein) who used them in their art, we began exploring the secondary color family- orange, green, and purple! Now these you can MAKE and you make them using the primary colors you know so much about!

For introduction and practice I searched for printable color wheels and found this beauty here. We began by filling in the primary colors we know and love. 

Then we filled in the blanks, where our secondary colors should be, by mixing the neighboring two primaries in that spot. Always start with the lightest color and add the darkest to it! We saved these in our art folders as a graphic organizer to reference later. 

Since it's fall, we drew and traced 3 pumpkins- one large, one medium, and one small. We talked about using curved vertical lines to create the illusion of roundness for our pumpkins. They did a fantastic job! 

Then we used 2 primary colors to mix orange, our very first secondary color! We always start with the lightest color and add small amounts of the darker color. Why? Because it doesn't take as long to change a color if you do it this way and it uses significantly less paint, so there's less waste! Students painted each pumpkin, one at a time, with yellow and added one brush dab of red at a time to make it orange. The more red you add to your yellow, the orangier your orange will be! Color mixing is a little bit science, a little bit magic, a lot a bit exploration, and a great bit of excitement! Students are always amazed by and proud of their mixtures! We attempted to make each pumpkin a slightly different orange by using more or less red. A tricky job, but they did an outstanding, orange-tastic job!!! 

With our orange pumpkins looking very orange, it was time to make a grassy bed for them to sit in. But where to start? If we need to use yellow and blue to make green, which do we start with and why? They remembered to start with the lighter color and add small amounts of the darker to save time and paint. 

So we painted our papers yellow with large brushes (always fun to use), added any amount of blue we liked to create a green we loved, and then learned a fun brush trick! We flipped them upside down to draw zig-zaggy, curvy-ish, whimsical lines for our grass.

Lastly, we mixed perfect purples, beginning with red, adding bits of blue! We swirled glue in our skies, inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night....

A painting of a scene at night with 11 swirly stars and a bright yellow crescent moon. In the background there are hills, in the middle ground there is a moonlit town with a church that has an elongated steeple, and in the foreground there is the dark green silhouette of a cypress tree.

...and sprinkled a mix of red and blue glitter to add some glitz and glam to our swirls!

Look at that gorgeous glistening glitter....Your eyes sort of mix the red and blue together so it appears purple!

We learned cutting techniques to make our grass look grassier. We saved bits of grass scraps to make stems for our pumpkins. 

While assembling our secondary colored parts, we talked about ways to create the illusion of depth and space. Our goal was for our pumpkin patch to look as though we could walk right through it, all the way to the very back, in search of the perfect pumpkin! There were a few things to keep in mind in order for this work. We know that things that are far away appear to be smaller, so we glued down our smallest pumpkins first. Some chose to tuck them behind the grass, others placed them just over that line. Our medium pumpkins were in the middle area of the grass, to the left, the right, or the middle. Our largest pumpkins were in the very front, anywhere along the bottom of our paper. Overlapping pumpkins creates a sense of depth, the illusion that some are closer than others. 

They are color mixing masters! They can create depth in their work, mix frosting like cake bosses, and can draw inspiration from famous works to add something special to their projects. These will be on proud display in the lobby area soon, so be watching for them! 

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