Classroom Organisation and Management for Painting

Looking at colour

Although children sometimes choose or are directed to work in monochrome, it is the opportunity to work in and experiment with colour that makes painting so exciting. Early experimentation usually revolves around colour mixing and progresses to more sophisticated colour matching.

Initially, children are transfixed by the seemingly magical transformation that takes place when two colours are mixed. Even the act of cleaning brushes in a water jar can become an occasion to reinforce colour theory. As they begin to master the relationship between the process and the product, they will need to begin having more control in the mixing and setting some kind of colour matching challenge is the ideal way of doing this.

Children can be encouraged to compare and contrast the range of colours to be found in both nature and the made environment. They can then be asked to explore how a variety of artists have chosen to incorporate colour into their work. The scientific theory of colour can prove to be a challenging topic even for adults, but children need to be encouraged from the outset to select the appropriate vocabulary when discussing their observations.

Teachers need to be clear in their own understanding of terms such as; tone, shade, hue, intensity etc. As already mentioned, by offering only the primary colours, children will be stimulated to experiment with creating the most appropriate colours for their needs.