Note: A fun introduction to colour mixing can be found within "The Rainbow Fairies" - under the 'Stories' button.
Making friends with paint usually begins early. It is wonderful if children can be supervised and given the
opportunity to paint
at an easel, using big sheets of paper, large brushes and quick-dry waterbased non-toxic bright colours. Their
wet paintings can be removed by an adult and pegged up high to dry. (For very small children, please visit
the KindyKids section for more ideas such as finger painting and printing).
If you don't mind a bit of mess, you can allow face-painting and hand-printing or put
the wet paintings in a box on a spinning wheel to see what patterns they make - like the little boy below at the right!
Moving on to older children now, from 5 to 15 yrs, the following might be helpful.
The colour wheel at right was mixed for you by Julia, aged 9.
If you are using tube paints, here are some basic materials you will need. You will also need some heavy paper or
cardboard to paint on. When you are choosing paints, remember that most watercolours and poster paints will wash out of clothes easily
but acrylics will not - but whichever you choose, make sure they are non-toxic. You can mix almost all the colours
you need from just the ones shown below. The colour wheels above will show you how.
You can also test out some of the basic colour wheel with coloured marking pens. Just draw a patch of red and blue,
then overlay half of them with a yellow highlighter. Did you make green and orange? Wow! Isn't that magic!
Purple is harder to make unless you have markers in pink and light blue. Otherwise your purple might be too dark to see.
Most artists use brushes and their fingers to get painting effects, but there are some
other ways to get terrific results.
We will show you how ours turned out, but yours will be different and that is good because it means you will be an ORIGINAL ARTIST
and not just a copy artist.
1. The first one below on the left is using watercolour paint with a brush, but first drawing with a light coloured
crayon. The paint will not stick where the wax is, so you can get a nice draw/paint effect. I wonder what YOU will draw?
2. The middle one below is made by pouring little blobs of ink or very watery paint on a page,
then blowing air through a straw close to the blobs
to make them run into branches. Don't let the straw touch the ink - just hold it so that it is close. This is really a lot of fun! Would you like to try it?
3. The third one on the right was made by wiping the paint on with a little piece of carboard. Then when
that was dry, we put the black lines on using a feather tip dipped in black ink.
Here are 2 more ways to get fantastic effects.
1. The one on the left below was painted by a MARBLE! Yes that's right, a MARBLE! For this you need an old cardboard lid
(a shoe-box lid is ideal). This one can be very messy so best to work outside. Place your box lid upside down and
play your paper inside it nice and flat. Then drop some runny paint or ink at each end of the box. Put your marble in and gently
roll it around. The marble will pick up the ink and roll it over the paper, leaving colourful lines. Remember to
leave some of the paper white and it will look better. Carefully lift out your painting and put it on some
newspaper to dry. Then wash the marble and throw away the lid unless you want to do more.
2. The one on the right was made by putting watery paint all over the page in different colours.
Then you take the paper and crush it up into a little ball in your hands! Yes! Just screw it up as
if you were going to put it in the bin. Leave it for a minute or two and then carefully flatten the paper out
again. The ink should have settled in the crease lines, making a pattern. Put it on some newspaper to dry.
Later on when it is dry, ask an adult if they can iron it flat for you with a low warm setting and sandwich it between 2 clean pieces of paper
to keep the iron and ironing board clean.
Here are 2 more effects you can get using a spray bottle of water with paint and inks.
1. The one at the left. Once you have put the paint onto the page or board, you can make it run by spraying it with water
like this one at left by Julia, making rain fall down under the rainbow.
2. The one at the right was made by pouring thin paint or ink into small puddles of different colours close together
on heavy paper or light card.
Then you take a spray bottle of water and very gently spray until the colours run together. Go slowly -
just spray a little and then wait to see what happens before you spray more. If you put too much water you will lose the effect.
If you like you can tilt the paper to help the paint to run where you want
then lay it flat until it dries.
Maybe you have some coloured chalk pastels to draw and paint with as well, like these which I
use a lot. Can you see how I keep the light warm sunny colours up one end and the cool ones at the other?
Chalk pastels look terrific on black paper, like these fish!
Also working in chalk pastels, a wonderful group of home schooled children from Littleton, Colorado in the US
undertook a project from the book "Dynamic Art Projects for Children" by Denise M. Logan. Their teachers
worked with them to first study VanGogh and then paint his sunflowers, using black Canson paper, Elmers gel glue
for outlines and pastels to fill in the shapes. You might like to try this too.
Great work! Definitely few masterpiece there everyone! Congratulations!
Here are some young people's paintings from my art class. The first 3 are by Melissa (9), who
has painted a little Australian possum with sleepy eyes, then some flowers & fruit + a glass which she set up on the
table in front of her.(That is called a "Still Life".) Her last one is a very soft painting of winter from imagination.
The fourth one was painted by Scott (11) who loves the beach and surfing.
Here are 2 more by Melissa - first an illustration of the Australian song "Waltzing Matilda" showing
the swagman, who is sitting there by the billabong (waterhole) under a coolibah tree,
boiling his billy over the fire for a cup of tea.
Then he spies a jumbuck (sheep) who has come down for a drink and he is thinking how nice it would be for dinner!
I really like this second one, which is a painting from Melissa's imagination using little daubs of paint all over like the french Impressionist
painters did. Which one do you like the best?
You can paint what is around you, paint from your imagination, paint to tell a story, make up a design, paint your feelings or dreams or
just play with paint and see what happens! I wonder what kind of painting you will do?
Whatever you paint, I hope you really enjoy it! If you would like to send in some pictures of your paintings we
would love to publish them here. Just attach a photo or scanned image of your painting
to an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Tell us just your first name, age and the town or country where you live.