Paint a Still Life in Primary Colors

What You Need:

  • White watercolor paper (11” x 17”)
  • Red, Yellow and Blue tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Palette
  • Still life items (we used fruit and a bowl)
  • Clamp light
  • White and black tempera paint for older kids

What You Do:

  1. Help your child to set up a still life in the center of a table using fruit, vegetables, bottles, books, potted plants or toys. The still life should have at least three different objects in it. Use a clamp light to light up one side of the still life so highlights and shadows are visible.
  2. Place the primary color paints onto a painting palette.
  3. If your child is in grade 1 or 2, encourage him to paint each object a different primary color, looking closely at the shapes of each object. If your child is in grades 3-5, encourage her to use at least two primary colors in each object; perhaps the highlights can be one color and the shadows another.
  4. For children who are in grade 6, they are ready to begin using tints and shades. A tint is when white is added to a color making it lighter. A shade is when black is added to a color to make it darker. Add white and black to their color palette and encourage them to tint and shade their primary colors showing shadows and highlights.

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