Monday, November 12, 2012

Art for the Untrained: Our Exploration of Secondary Colors

Montessori education calls parents and educators alike to follow children's interests and to prepare their environments with opportunities to strengthen skills and grow in independence.  So, what is a parent or educator to do when a child loves art, yet the adults in that child's life have little to no experience with creating and teaching art?

One sure-fire way to resolve the issue, I think, is to find a good mentor.  And, in my experience, that mentor can be found in a book!

Let me explain...

A Study of Line, Pattern and Color

Art is not something that I have ever felt extraordinarily talented at or knowledgeable about.  However, it is something that I always appreciated and, since following my children's interests, have begun to enjoy experiencing more and more of in recent years.

Luke's Secondary Colors Mandala
One of our family's recent forays in art as an after-dinner activity included making secondary color mandalas as inspired by Sandi Henry's book, Using Color in Your Art!: Choosing Colors for Impact & Pizzazz.

Nina's Mandala
We so enjoyed making these.  The children became fully engaged in tracing, cutting and folding circles.

Tracing and cutting circles connects art with math and fine motor skills.

Then, they mixed up secondary colors...

Mixing secondary colors connects art to science..
Finally, we all began painting lines to design original art pieces...

At first, Luke concentrated on trying to maintain symmetry.

Nina enjoyed exploring different style lines at first -- straight and curved.

Jack explored painting with his favorite color -- orange.

Meeting the Master Marc Chagall

As our artwork dried, we followed the lead of Using Color in Your Art!: Choosing Colors for Impact & Pizzazz in order to meet a master who was hitherto unknown to us:  Marc Chagall.

As suggested, we first explored Chagall's Green Violinist at the Guggenheim's online collection, noting the use of secondary colors in it, looking for details within the background of the painting, etc.

Image from
We then looked up some of Chagall's stained glass windows.

A Resource We'd Recommend

It was such an enjoyable and enriching experience to create and view art together that evening. It re-confirmed for me just how easy it is even for a parent with little training in creating or teaching about visual arts to just jump in and do so... with a little help from a book if need be.

Using Color in Your Art!: Choosing Colors for Impact & Pizzazz is definitely a book that can help.

We had this book out of our local library for two loan periods and, although it is recommended for ages 9 and up, found it to be a great fit for our family at ages 2, 5, 6 and 40+.  We used it as a guide for a number of exploration and liked it so much that penny pincher me is even considering purchasing Using Color in Your Art!: Choosing Colors for Impact & Pizzazz at Amazon, since it is being sold at a deep discount now.  With a year or more's worth of homeschool art inspiration and projects in it, I think the book would be a great value at under $6!

 What "mentors" have you found for following your children's interests with some expertise even when you do not possess the experience to do so?

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Want to be inspired with others' Montessori ideas an work?  Click on over to Montessori Monday and enjoy.

1 comment:

Discovering Montessori said...

I loved this! Great post!! This year we be dabbing a little in studying artist, I am sure my children would want to try these activities. Love the photos! Thank you for sharing.


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