Starting points for paint and colour

Tools and materials

Colour materials could include tempera paint, crayons, oil pastels, coloured pencils and inks, according to the children’s levels of experience. Younger children will enjoy the tactile experience of paint, using a variety of instruments, for example brushes, sticks and sponges. Similar varieties of paper to those suggested for drawing would be suitable.

Children at infant level use colour for the sheer enjoyment of it. With encouragement they will make marks and shapes that are free and spontaneous. Exploratory colour exercises in paint could begin with primary colours (red, yellow and blue), using one colour at a time with a little of the other two so that they can become familiar with nuances of hue. With experience they will discover the magic of making new colours as they mix paint. More experienced children will experiment with complementary colours (for example red and green) to create lively effects and with muted colours for quieter effects.

Ways of suggesting space on a page will be explored with warm colours (for example ‘advancing’ orange-reds and yellows) and cool colours (for example ‘receding’ blues and blue-greens). Ways of creating textural effects using brush and paint for textural variety will also be explored. Attempts at suggesting form using colour and tone can be explored when the children’s observational powers and their awareness of the subtleties of colour and tone are sufficiently developed. A colour study would give children the opportunity to create a range of colours and tones within a colour area.