2013 Middle School Curriculum Session 1

Welcome back to school! I am so excited to start of my third year of my teaching career in my first official art room with REAL supplies, a nice size budget and the ability to strengthen and grow the mind of my 7th and 8th grade students. For the first six weeks of school we will be learning color theory, paint mixing and painting techniques.


Color theory

We will start off with a lesson straight from the color wheel. I will have students spend their first class with me creating their own color chart. We will talk about how to mix paints using a pallet knife. I will be using disposable pallet paper with them because I have found this wastes less paint, is much easier clean up and less paint makes its way into our water systems. Even acrylics can affect our water in a negative way.

Students will review a color theory lesson, which involves primary, secondary, intermediate, monochromatic, analogous, and split complimentary colors.  I will have them work with only primary colors and white as we mix. They will mix primary colors creating secondary and tertiary colors. I will allow them to use a small bit of white to brighten up and darker colors such as the deep violets we will be using.

Students will draw out a chart (shown below) to paint in the different color schemes we spoke about. This will become a reference chart for them later on.

20130819_161301 20130819_161310

We will discuss scales, tints and shades.

We will also look at “Choosing Colors” by Kevin McCloud, to look at a decorators view of color coordination. And color relativity.


Students will understand how best to manipulate acrylic paints, keep them vicious and apply them to canvas or other surfaces.

Students will be able to mix colors and create mixed color from local colors (colors from the tube).

Students will understand how to mix colors to create their own colors for an image.

Students will create a color chart of, triadic, analogous, split complimentary and monochromatic combinations. This chart will be used as a reference for paintings later.

Student will know how to prepare a pallet.

Students will be able to apply color techniques to create any color they see.

Students will be able to create tints of mixed colors, shades of mixed colors and grays from colors and white.

Once the students are comfortable with creating colors we will begin painting with acrylics. Our first lesson in acrylics and color theory will be to have them create a homogeneous pallet of colors. I will have each student choose an emotion and they will have to keep it a secret. I will have them mix colors that they feel could represent that emotion. (i.e. love; pink, red, violet, sadness; blue, grey etc.) We will create a 6×6 one inch square grid of colors that they can paint their pallet onto. They will use painters tape to create crisp lines and paint in layers. They will learn to let paint dry, create layers and the tightness of a structured painting. Once they have completed their work they can have each other guess which emotion each was trying to convey.

Students will be able to create a homogenous pallet.

Students will be able to create an abstract layout of colors

Students can use resources to choose a painting that has a waterscape in it. We will work with painting a simple landscape with a body of water which may have a reflection. This reflection may be mirror like or it may be reflected light. Students will receive handouts which show them how water can reflect light to create color, or can act like a mirror to reflect objects. They can choose a painting for any time of the day. They may even use a photograph they have taken themselves if they choose to.

We will experiment with how water looks by viewing the back pond at different angles (low to the ground. higher above, eye level and hovering right over it).


Students will understand reflection of light on a body of water based on the angle the viewer is seeing, the time of day and the atmosphere around it.

Students will compose a painting with a body of water which shows techniques they will learn.

Students will use color mixing techniques from the first lesson to create a homogeneous color pallet.

After working with a tight composition I would like to narrow our focus to a particular artist and go back to our color theory lesson. I will have the students look at painter,  Wolf Kahn. Well known for his bright color landscapes Wolf Kahn is a living master of his work. We will work with bright colors, really putting a focus of not just preparing their pallet for the painting but how to create landscapes with their colors. We will discuss color compliments, and how to create various effects.


Students will create an original composition using Wolf Kahn’s work as inspiration.

Students will understand how to prepare a canvas.

Students will understand how to build up layer of color to create a deeper, richer image.

Students will know how to create a landscape with images that fade into the horizon.

Students will understand how to create color families using tinting and shading.

From here we will move onto a new medium, working with water colors. We will begin with working on making textures and color maxing, techniques in lifting colors and ways to create a successful water color. We will learn about the “four S’s” Salt, Scraping, Sponges and Spatter. We can work with mixed media such as wax crayons, oil pastels, color pencils under a color and later added over a dry painted surface. We will also experiment with a wash of paint and then go over it in fine pen to create details.

Students will learn how to create a few elements such as foliage, trees,  grass. I would like to take a field trip to Valley View and use digital cameras to take pictures, or draw sketches of views available to the students.


Students will understand how to use watercolor paints.

Students will apply techniques used to create a watercolor landscape.

Students will understand various reactions the pigment in the water color will have to materials such as oil, salt, and wax.

I believe these four lessons are a great way to start and I would like to feel out my group of students to see how they handle the subject. If they seem to excel then I would like to see if they would be interested in using oil paint or gauche.


Colors: the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.

primary colors – red, blue & yellow, these colors cannot be created from any other color.

secondary colors – orange, green and violet, these colors are created from mixing two primary colors

intermediate color – a color made from mixing a primary and a secondary color, ie. yellow orange & yellow green

monochromatic colors – all colors of a single color, tints, shades of one hue

analogous colors – colors which are next to each other on the color wheel, ie; yellow, yellow orange, orange

split complimentary colors – using the color wheel, a primary or secondary color and its opposite color split on either side of its opposites color, ie. yellow, red violet and blue violet, or yellow green, red and violet


Flat – square ends, with medium to long bristles, used for bold strokes, filling in large areas

Bright – similar to flat, but bristles are shorter, more control

Angular – bristles shaped at an angle, works well for large areas or details

Filbert – Oval-shape brush, medium to long hairs, good for blending

Round – rounds and pointed tip, used for detail

Liner – similar to round brush, thinner good for long strokes

Blender – or fan, because of its shape which resembles a fan, used for special effects

Shallow water – to indicate shallow water, paint the ground under the water a shade darker than ground not covered by water. Let painting dry, add soft white streaks to suggest reflections of light on ripples. Add reflections of grasses or rocks (water darkens objects).

Deep water – in the background water appears lighter, while in the middle ground it will appear darker. (the opposite will be true for sky, the middle ground will be deeper and darker and the back ground will be lighter). In the foreground you can see through to the bottom of the water.


Bonamarte, Lou, and Carolyn Janik. Artful Watercolor: Learning to Use the Secrets of Light. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Hoffmann, Tom. Watercolor Painting: A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2012. Print

Jelbert, Wendy. Painting Nature’s Details. London: B.T. Batsford, 1996. Print.

Johnson, Cathy. Creating Textures in Watercolor: A Guide to Painting 83 Textures from Grass to Glass to Tree Bark to Fur. Cincinnati, OH: North Light, 1992. Print.

McCloud, Kevin. Choosing Colors: An Expert Choice of the Best Colors to Use in Your Home. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2003. Print.

Petri, Bert N. The Complete Guide to Painting Water. Cincinnati, OH: North Light, 2008. Print.

Szabo, Zoltan. Zoltan Szabo’s 70 Favorite Watercolor Techniques. Cincinnati, OH: North Light, 1995. Print.


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