Rothko and Color

This art lesson is dedicated to Mark Rothko and warm & cold colors.

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Mark Rothko was an Abstract Expressionist painter. He was looking for ways to capture emotions in the purest forms. From people and mythological stories to organic shapes and then finally: only color.

You can follow links below to download presentations to use with your kids (and your students), showing the different paintings he made before he decided to embrace total abstraction.

Ask the kids what are the cold and warm colors? What emotions tie in with them? Hoe do these colors make them feel?

about_colors

Then you can create a project inspired by Mark Rothko.

You can make your own canvas and paint it with watercolors or capture your emotions with color and basic symbols with oil pastels.

K to 2 presentation (make your own canvas): http://1drv.ms/1g3DteD

canvas

This is a really fun project that needs some prep time. You can either cut small pieces of cardboard and the sheets and bring those to the class (one per child) or you can make bigger ones and let them work in groups (easier prep, just make sure you help them stretch the fabric over the cardboard and use a little bit of the glue underneath it). Just cut a piece of cardboard, a piece of sheet and let the kids glue it on. Then use liquid watercolors (and ADD WATER to them – at least 50/50) and paint them with wither warm or cold colors. Why do you need to add water? The canvas is not primed and it will ‘drink’ a lot of the water. You can use paint as well (or instead of the watercolors).

If you want to make the small canvases, you will need approx. 1 large box and 1 crib sheet for 25 kids. I would also recommend to bring several large ‘canvases’ for kids to work on together once they are finished, or watercolor paper so that they can create more artworks (and try both warm and cold colors).

 

3 to 5 presentation (capture your emotions): http://1drv.ms/1efFYMt

canvas2

This project is also very easy and there is no prep time needed. Just follow the presentation and ask the kids about emotions they want to capture. Discuss how they can do that (happiness: bouncing ball, sunshine, flowers, rainbow) and give them watercolor paper and oil pastels (in either warm or cold colors). Either divide a classroom into 2 parts (warm vs cold) or let each of them choose (doing it by tables is going to be easier.) Let the kids draw the thing that they associate with the emotion (keeping it more abstract as the grades get higher, older ones can sketch first). Then give them watercolors to paint over the pictures.

In any case, remind the kids to not mix warm and cold colors. Also, do not use much white or black. Wash brushed before changing colors with the watercolors. And most importantly: have fun!

If you would like to get more projects about Rothko and Color, you can purchase the magazine subscription and receive this issue within 24 hours! This week, it is on sale for $4.99 for 12 issues on Plum District.

You can also ask us about the school subscription with support, online art docent trainings and magazine for ALL kids at your school!

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