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Level: Middle School, High School
Grades: 6-12 | Age: 11 and up | Written by: Amy Shapley
[Amy is a PreK-8 art teacher at Notre Dame de Sion School of Kansas City.]


amorphic shape, negative space, organic shape, primary/secondary/tertiary colors, blending

What You Need:
What You Do:

*Note * this works best as a second lesson, after first teaching about the traditional color wheel.

  1. Discuss the difference in shapes.... straight, angles, sharp, round, blobbish, etc. Define as a group geometric, organic, amorphic in relation to shape. Discuss how shapes next to one another can mimic each other's shape, as if they might touch. Example: puzzle pieces mimic each other's shape where they fit together.
  2. Draw an arrangement of organic shapes that relate to one another in shape, but do not touch. The design should reach at least one portion of all four paper edges. Use light pencil lines so that they do not distract from the painting later.
  3. Demonstrate watercolor painting techniques:
  4. How to use wet paints to run together to create a new color and seem to flow together.

    How to use a dry brush as a sponge to pull up areas with too much water.

  5. Begin at the center of the drawing by painting half of a shape red and half orange, flowing into red-orange in the center. Move to the next shape, and paint it orange, flowing into yellow to create yellow-orange. Continue on with the entire 12-color color wheel, starting over again with red as needed. My rule...each shape must contain two colors.

Recommended Books/Products:

Learning to Paint Mixing Watercolors
by Parramon's Editorial Team
This latest Barron's Learning to Paint Series volume provides students with practical guidelines and clear instructions for using watercolors to produce every color the human eye can perceive. They begin with three primary colors--yellow, blue, and red. Thereafter, students can produce the secondary and tertiary colors, which cover the full visible light spectrum.

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