Re: [art_education] Newbie with a question
- Dear Ann,
I hope that I can help you. My name is Lisa and I teach elementary art in three schools in Verona, New Jersey. Color theory is a an important part of my curriculum for many reasons. One, because it involves the use of vocabulary terms that students of all ages need to know, (for example, primary, secondary, intermendiate, analogous,tint, shade, tone,complementary, monochromatic)especially when they discuss art in real terminology. Elementary students love to tell you if a painting is warm or cool, or look at a Van Gogh, and discuss how the colors mix in your eye. Art terms often show up on SAT tests or other college placement exams, so we all need to learn them.
Secondly, mixing color, and understanding what effects colors have on one another makes a student more of an active participant in the art they make. There is more involvement on the part of the artist when they paint with a color they mixed themselves, rather than select one from a box of crayolas. A kindergartener is fascinated when blue and yellow really make green. To them, it's magical, but it's really scientific, and more importantly, and exercize in problem solving.
Having an understanding of color theory also prepares students for later life when they have to choose a sofa to match a rug, shutters to match a house, or something as simple as planning a garden or selecting a tie. Elementary art education is different from when I went to school in the 1970s (picture the Brady bunch-Cindy was a bit older than me when I enjoyed that show in the first grade, and by the way, my old first grade classroom is now one of my artrooms!) We didn't have an art room, just a space in the basement, where we made crummy collages out of cut up magazines and made puppets our of dish detergent bottles.) We now know that children are capable of making real art, and that the learning process is much more important than the end product they create. I often will have my students spend an art period just mixing colors and creating swatches that they creatively name things like "popsicle" or "windy" (Sorry no gross names allowed!) Since some students aren't able to fit art classes into their schedule in high school, it's neccessary to give them a strong foundation in their elementary years, as it might be their only opportunity to learn valuable skills and information. Elementary children love art, and thrive on learning new terms and skills. Colors are exciting to them, and giving them cups of paint and a palette to mix them on gives them great joy. Color theory is just one aspect of a strong elementary art curriculum, but it is one that translates into real lifeskills as well as an appreciation and understanding of the esthetics of color.
Well, I hope this helps, let me know if you need anything else. Have fun, but work HARD in school, it will pay off later in life. ;-) Lisa
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I am doing a research project on color theory and its nesscessity in elementary art education.
I teach Kindergarten and Grade One art in an urban public school district near Boston, MA. I teach students the warm and cool colors when we do a lesson based on Vincent van Gogh's painting of "Starry Night". Students learn color mixing to make shades and tints when we do a unit on Claude Monet's paintings of Waterliles. We also introduce the primary colors by reading the children's book "Mouse Paint" and experimenting with mixing the colors of red, yellow and blue. Color theory is an important piece of our early childhood art program and we are always trying to think of new ways to include it in our projects. Good luck with your research! Carolyn Mills Art Educator, Early Learning Center, Chelsea, MA
If you would like to view my students art work you can visit our school's on-line art gallery at http://www.chelsea.mec.edu/ELC/home.html
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