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Re: motivation-- middle school

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TwoDucks_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Thu Apr 01 2004 - 14:18:36 PST


In a message dated 4/1/04 8:59:48 AM, bbowen@cushingms.k12.ok.us writes:

> I have to spend so much time on color wheels and very fundamental stuff
> because my classes are all mixed together, I only get them one semester, so
> usually over half the class has never had art at all, including elementary, and
> don't even know their primary colors.
>

Here is one idea you might want to try, if indeed you want everybody painting
at once. I used to use it to begin a long unit on painting. Each student
had a palette, a sponge, and plenty of cheap (But thick) paper. Each table had
trays of nice thick tempera paint which included in some trays
red/yellow/blue/black/white and others which included magenta/yellow/turquoise/black/white
(MUCH BETTER TO USE MYT AS PRIMARIES TRUST ME!), plenty of coffee cans of clean
water and an assortment of smallish brushes. Instead of slogging through
color wheels my students were given a quick demo stressing use of the palette:
mixing there, while keeping colors in the paint trays fresh (washing and wiping
brushes with each color change, changing water in coffee cans frequently.
The assignment? to mix as many colors as possible...and by the end of the
period to create one fairly neat page with samples of "personal colors". What are
personal colors? Colors that the artist might need for their greatest
interest. Some students might be attracted to a cool palette; others, perhaps those
who enjoy painting wildlife might go for an enormous range of neutral colors.
  So everybody is mixing, and interesting color recipes can be shared with
others at the table or perhaps written on the chalkboard. Students may wish to
name some of the colors that they mix: tangerine? wine? chocolate?
alligator? Brittany's lipstick? As you notice students mixing complements, you can
point out the neutrals and greys that can result. If you are grading, you will
be looking for a neat paper with at least x number of mixed colors.Th e
students might be asked to explain what has attracted them to those colors. Color
preference is an important aspect of being an artist and the colors which I
love might not interest you at all. Color wheels are important references and
I would have them all over the place...but I think that to get people
actually experimenting and mixing and loading the palette and making a page which
will serve them as a reference when they actually begin a painting...I think that
this is more valuable and a LOT more motivating. Sometimes on those mixing
days I have had students make really wonderful small paintings in the process
of experimenting because they are relaxed and not trying to "paint the
lighthouse or the puppy dog". Students should keep that paper for the semester and
have it available as a reference and be invited to add to it as they progress
in painting. Students who are advance will still bde learning in this
exercise (I still learn something new every time I do it...; students with NO
experience mixing colors really need this opportunity to make sense of colors'
impact on each other. It is a bit messy, a bit noisy, but I do not think too many
"slackers" will be able to resist it.
kathy douglas

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