my seventh graders just completed their first painting. we always begin
with black, white and gray before we attempt any color. most kids have
never really mixed paint before (at least properly), so it's always good
to start 'em out slowly.
we used stuart davis's "blips and ifs" abstract painting as our influence.
i found that this was a low stress type of project because it didn't rely
too much on drawing ability. they just had to make sure to give a variety
of organic and geometric shapes, both big and small, and other similar
features that had a stuart davis feel to it.