Chasing That Color

 7th Grade Student working on Zinnias. Photo by Melody Weintraub

7th Grade Student working on Zinnias. Photo by Melody Weintraub

As an artist, I love mixing colors to find just the right contrast, tone or hue. Do you? I tell my students that I sometimes feel that I can almost "taste" the color I'm trying to mix..like remembering the word that is "on the tip of your tongue" or finding the seasoning that your grandmother must have used in her chicken soup. I hope that I transfer that passion for mixing colors to my students. I love to see them chasing after colors in the condiment cups I distribute. When they finally mix THE color, I love to see them "stash" it in a nook of my art room for safekeeping..like a pot of gold. We use black to shade colors sparingly in my classroom. Unless we are going for a "grungy" effect. We do, however, return to the color wheel to see if the compliment can be added to create a darker shade first. I tell my students to look for the warmer tones..go red..make it deeper with a little blue and then go to green. They know what I mean. I also tell them to return to the reference photo and study the color..over-emphasize it. The results sometimes take my breath away..like the beginning of this zinnia painting by a 7th Grade student. I'm not sure that he realizes the magic that he is creating, but it is inspiring this art teacher to pick up some watercolors tonight and chase a little color myself. How about you?