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Color theory in high School


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 30 2003 - 10:04:53 PDT

Forgive me if this site has been posted before, but I think, for those of
you that have computer labs available, this is good site to start for the
introduction to color in high school

I'm writing a guide for color theory and color relationships for use at my
high school. I teach Advanced and AP and find the kids get to me with little
color knowledge beyond mixing white and black with a pigment coming out of a
bottle. They use all color media like crayons- filling in colors- the color
perception is slim. They make preferential choices instead of knowledgeable
choices. I would like to find somewhere in between those two.

I have to admit teaching color theory has allows been difficult for me.
Seeing color comes very naturally to me; I consider it my gift. I see a
color and my head automatically breaks it down into it's components and I
can duplicate it with little effort.
Anybody have any tricks on getting high school kids to play and experiment
with color? and get beyond the basics?
some things I do:
 limited palettes - designated schemes
 start with the opposite color and end with the true color
 studies of "white"
 assigning a color to black&white values and maintaining the value/intensity
without using
   pure white or black
 emotional/psychological use of color without regard to "true" color
   i.e. illustrate red in black &white then do it in color and respond to
the difference

I'm not sure what to do with color in high school. I've spent a lifetime
learning about color. My foundation year in art school included 2 semesters
of color theory with all those color-aid paper projects. I worked in fashion
and interior design where color was the often THE element. I'm just not
sure what to give in high school about color. Color is fashionable, it's
cultural, it's psychological and symbolic, and it's incredibly important in
catching viewer attention. I get so upset when kids know little more than
red and yellow make orange.

Well I guess I'm procrastinating from what I need to do, hoping someone has
something I haven't thought of. (Oops ended with a prep.)
I know it. I don't know how to get it across.