Lesson 10

Painting a Landscape using Complementary Colours

Art Projects for Primary School Students by Raquel Redmond

Chroma Art supplies, chromaonline.com

Chroma2 paint, from Chroma  Australia has been used in this painting tutorial.

Art Technique

Painting, colour mixing

Age Group

6 to 12 years


A practical experience in colour mixing using two complementary colours plus black and white.


2 to 3 sessions depending on the age group.

Room arrangement


  • 1 x 2 litre bottle of Chroma 2 paint in the following colours: warm and cool red,warm and cool yellow, warm and cool blue plus black and white
  • Several A3 size sheets of 120gsm cartridge paper per student
  • 1 #6 hog hair flat paint brush per student
  • 1 piece of rag per student to wipe the brushes on
  • 8 ice cube trays to hold paint. Allow two for each group
  • Several sheets of A4 paper scrap to use for mixing the paint on
  • 8 plastic containers to use for water wash up (1litre ice cream containers are ideal)
  • 1 paint shirt per student (large mens t-shirts are best to cover school uniforms)
  • 2 small newspapers to cover the table tops with or alternatively, a soft plastic table cloth
  • 1 x roll 24mm masking tape to use for securing the newspaper sheets to the desks

Chroma2 Paint

1 set of 8 x 2L bottles of the  six primary colours, plus black and white should be sufficient paint supply for a year, for a class of approximately 25 students. Chroma 2 paint is suitable for other art techniques such as printmaking and is also designed to be used on textured surfaces such as clay, timber and fabrics.

This project has been designed to suit normal classroom conditions and illustrates how the classroom can be adapted to create working space required.

Paint notes

Paint spilt on garments will come off when washed by hand. Rinse the garment in cold running water and rub the area where the paint has dried. Soak for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in a laundry tub or a bucket, add 2 table spoons of laundry detergent and enough water to cover the garment. After soaking, rub off the remaining paint in the sudsy water and hey presto... a clean shirt!

From a very young age children love to experiment with colour.

For young students, colour is a source of fascination, mixing colours, unlocking the colours, discovering and experimenting is a kind of magic that children love. This tutorial provides children the opportunity to enjoy a flexible and practical way to express with colour at different stages of development and to find out how to create colours by mixing two complementary colours plus black and white.


  • to provide students with practical experience in colour mixing, to find out how colours change by mixing two complementary colours and adding black and white.
  • to give students the opportunity to manipulate, explore and control colour and paint
  • to collaborate with teachers to increase their understanding of art practice

Depending on the age group, students will require either more or less time to mix colours and paint. Older students will attempt to express and record ideas about colour in a more detailed way while younger students will work fast and spontaneously.

The important aspect of this project is for the students to understand that they can mix the opposite colours between themselves but also to mix black and white with the complementary colours.

It will advantageous to show the video, or part of it to the students to see how to mix complementary colours. After watching the video teachers can add more information, like for example: show the colour wheel and explain the three primary colours, Yellow, Blue and Red, and show how to use the Primary Colours to create the Secondary Colours: Orange, Purple and Green and all the other colours that can be mixed using the primary colours.

First Session

Room set-up and preparation

Arrange the desks in groups of four or six so the students can work together and share the art materials. (pic.1) Cover the tables with sheets of newspaper secured with masking tape.or alternatively use soft plastic
table cloths.

Prepare all the materials in advance –

Note: Refer to the recyclable materials document, alternatively refer to the Teachers Help Page for more information.

It is important to have all the art materials and equipment required for this project ready, before you start. Once the desks are grouped, the next task is to dispense paint. Paint can be dispensed in ice cube trays and covered with cling wrap at the end of each session to keep the paint fresh and ready for the next session or another art project. (pic 2)

How to dispense paint, water mixing paper and rags

Place paddle pop sticks in the paint to select the colours to mix on the mixing paper so that the individual colours in the tray remain clean (as shown in the video).
It is recommended that from school years four through to seven students can experiment mixing colours using the primary colours as shown in the colour wheel. (pic 3)

Please refer to a drawing of the Colour Wheel on the Teachers Help Page.

Download the Colour Wheel PDF

Second Session

Select two complementary colours: red/green – yellow/purple-orange/blue and practice mixing and creating new colours using the chosen two complementary colours with black
and white.

This session is an important part of the process, as students will have a good understanding of complementary colours mixing by the end of it.
(see video and pic 4)

Third Session


Students draw a simple landscape of trees going from top to bottom of the paper, using a small paint brush and runny paint like this sample. (pic 5)
By now, students will have a better understanding of colour mixing so they will be able to confidently mix colours and paint their landscapes.
(pic 6)
Further research for older students, connecting with science and social studies

  • Colour perception
  • Colour and temperature
  • Colour and emotions
  • Cultural use of colour

Additional notes

For information on where to buy Chroma2 paint, visit our Brava Art Paint Suppliers on our website www.bravaartpress.com/education and contact the suppliers to get the best whole sale prices.

  • This project on Complementary Colours can be done using other themes/subject matter such as: a simple Still Life composition using three objects on a table and Self Portraits.
  • If working with Early Childhood students, skip the Colour Wheel session and just talk about colours that “sit” opposite to each other on the Colour Wheel and use the idea of a simple landscape or a self portrait. A list of recyclable materials and equipment can be sent home asking parents to provide materials such as:
  • ice cream containers, discarded ice cube trays
  • old sheets, shirts or curtains to cut up into rags
  • small newspapers to cover tables

Note: Refer to the recyclable materials document, alternatively refer to the Teachers Help Page for more information.

Download the Colour Wheel PDF

1. Room setup and preparation
2. How to dispense paint, water mixing paper and rags
3. Colour wheel painted by students
4. Complementary colours using yellow and purple
5. Draw the tree trunks and branches without including smaller detail, from top to bottom
6. Finished landscape painting