The Temperature of Colour – Cool and Warm Colours
Colour theory can be a difficult concept for young students to understand. The idea for example of cool colours and warm colours and, that in art, warm colours advance towards the viewer and cool colours recede to the background, would be complex.
A good way to teach young children about warm colours and cool colours is to engage them in a hands on project that involves cool colours and warm colours.
We started by looking and talking about Franz Marc’s paintings of horses.
Franz Marc painted a series of colourful horses
and other animals going about on colourful meadows. As we talked about the horses
the students commented that they were “Happy Horses”. With that idea in mind we
started to prepare our drawings of happy horses.
How we did it
Samples of drawings showing different styles.
- Draw a square on the centre of a piece of white paper, cartridge paper of about 120 gm./4.23 ounces. or equivalent would be ideal
- Draw horses and trees, mountains and meadows across the paper from side to side and from top to bottom.
- Apply warm colours using soft oil crayons in such a way that every shape and area within the square is painted with yellows, reds, pinks, oranges browns and so on.
- Apply the cool colours outside the square, blues, purples, greens, using a variation of tones.
- Notes: if using A3 (11.69” x 16.53”) size paper, make the square at least 20 x 20 cm (7.8” x 7.8”)
- The square area can be hand drawn or, use a square piece of cardboard as a template. This will depend on the number of students involved. It will be easy if the students just draw a square or a rectangle or a circle in the middle. What is important is to create two different areas.
- We chose to draw horses because of the connection with Franz Marc paintings but the theme could be open, it will depend on the age of the students.
Older students can draw tools which require a more accurate depiction and observation.
Another suggestion is to draw random
intercepting lines from corner to corner and from side to side to create
abstract shapes to represent the idea that cool colours recede while warm
colours appear to advance.