One of our favourite books is One by Kathryn Otoshi and it explores the connection between colours and feelings. This provoked a conversation about colours being warm and cool and we decided to explore this further.
First we looked at cool colours because blue was the first colour we met in the book, One. We looked at and discussed art images using blues and greens. We talked about the difference in shades and how they effected the feeling of the images. We also talked about the lines that could represent ice breaking and what these might look like.
One of the pictures we observed carefully was this one by Picasso.
We explored his inclusion of yellow and red/brown in the painting and how it effected the feel of the painting and compared it with this very different picture that exclusively used blues and purples.
When it came time to create our own cool colour drawing, we used our observations for ideas. The children decided that “sharp”, “pointy” and “zigzag” lines would be best and drew 3 of each from the top to the bottom of the page. Next they turned their page around by 1/4 and drew another 3 lines from 1 side to another. The children then filled in the shapes they had created on the page using various shades of blue and green.
Once all the shapes were filled with colour, a white oil pastel was used to outline them with some children drawing zigzag lines in white over the top as well.
We used the same process when exploring warm colours. Here is one of the images we observed.
We also discussed what a fire looks like and the kind of lines that are created by flames and heat. The children decided that they would like to represent warm colours using “wavy” lines and this is the kind of lines they drew across their page from 1 side to the other. Just like with the cool colour drawing except “wavy not spikey”.
Once again the children chose the colours, selecting shades of red, yellow, orange and brown “just like in a fire”.
When complete some children chose to outline their warm shapes in a warm colour and highlight them using wavy lines.
Unfortunately I don’t have a photo to show you but when placed together the cool and warm effects were quite spectacular, with every image different yet belonging, a bit like the individual colours in the book.
Our warm and cool colour investigation was an interesting part of a larger one on colour and light. Whilst these activities seem prescriptive, their purpose was about the process of representing their observations and thinking. The knowledge and understandings they gained through these particular activities have been demonstrated over and over again as the children comment on the colours used in other media including book illustrations and videos. They have also transferred these understandings into their own art, using them imgainatively and creatively.