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  • Writer's pictureEileen Noyer

Adventures as a Guest Art Teacher

In May I had the pleasure of teaching an art lesson to 26 energetic 4th graders in Woodland, CA. Knowing I would only have 2 hours with the children, I chose a topic that would focus on increasing their confidence in mixing and understanding colours.

I started off with a presentation about the colour wheel, and showed some iconic works by impressionist artists to demonstrate the role of colour in their paintings. We talked about complementary colours, and how tone within colour can be used to create unexpected variety in paintings.

Next, I explained the task. Each student was to draw and shade the piece of fruit on the table, and choose two complementary colours to highlight the objects depth. They were then asked to create a geometric background of their choosing, and paint it with a distinctly different value to the main object.

It was a joy to see the children getting excited about mixing the colours. Many of the children in the class hadn't painted in years, and weren't sure what would happen when mixing certain colours. Initially, they were applying the paint straight from the palette onto the canvas. With some encouragement, they began to experiment. Some of the students were so interested in mixing colours that I believe they spent more time on the paint palette than they did on the painting! Favourite comment of the day I overheard, "Mine is a tomato in a nuclear explosion."


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