Your child will view objects just like a professional painter using an apple and red paint! Painters observe shapes when they work. Even if an object appears to be all one color, a painter's job is to stare at It long enough until they can reduce it to smaller shapes which may have only slight differences. This art exercise is a great way to help children learn how to start seeing just like a professional painter, while experimenting and having fun with monochromatic color.
What You Do:
- Teach your child what a Value Scale is and how artists use it to make one color appear lighter or darker. You can look up examples of value scales on the Internet and even show your child an example of how to make one using a different color.
- Help your child set up her apple for a still life painting by placing it around eye-level and lighting it up with a clamp light. This should create a highlight and a shadow area that is easy to see.
- Ask her to point out all the different red shapes she sees in the apple, including highlights, shadows and mid-tones. It helps to count them aloud.
- Squeeze out a small amount of red watercolor paint onto a palette. The color from the tube is the darkest color that she will use for the darkest shadows. She'll lighten the color using water to create the other values in the scale. The white paper is the first value.
- Have her paint a value scale on the corner or bottom of her paper that contains at least 8 values from white to red from the tube. She can experiment by saturating the paper with water before she places paint on the paper. This will create a runny/ painterly texture. Paint on dry paper for a more accurate painting style.
- She can lightly draw the outline of the apple using a pencil. Make sure the lines are not dark or the paint can't cover them.
- Now, she can slowly paint in the shapes of her apple with corresponding values, leaving the highlight areas the white of the paper. Watercolor takes some practice. It's easier to add more paint to go darker than it is to subtract paint. It’s a good idea to paint slowly.
- Allow the painting to completely dry before moving, framing or hanging. And, don’t forget to eat the apple!
Fun Fact: A painting created with only one color is called a Monochromatic painting.
Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.