Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Color Matching and Composition

Here's a little one day project that incorporates using a lot of art skills: composition, color matching, line, balance, repetition, mixing colors, brush techniques, -- you get the idea.
Perhaps best of all, it starts with recycled boxes/magazines -- my favorite!! This means I get to reduce the size of my saved cereal box stash!!

This example started out with a raisin bran box. Kids can cut whatever shape they like, although I found that areas where different colors meet (like the stripes in the cereal bowl here) are easier when it comes to finding lines to extend.
 I forgot to mention that this project provides yet another opportunity to practice making SMALL glue dots!
 Then come the lines. Everywhere that two colors meet provides a line to extend onto the background. I like when the recycled piece offers the inspiration for variety in the lines. Notice straight vs. curvy, crinkly vs. smooth, etc. Kids have so many choices to make. They can stay with the direction the line has in the original drawing, or let their imagination go as they extend their lines in whole new directions.
 Mixing the colors to try to exactly match the original color is a skill that students perfect as they mature, but I think it is good to start practicing early. It gives them an awareness of subtle gradations of color and they can start to develop their ability to manipulate the paint colors.
 Some areas may not be exact extensions of original color and students have the opportunity to use balance or repetition as they select colors with regard to the whole composition. For example, the areas in the lower right below are trying to balance the yellow-oranges in the upper left corner.
I think some of these make great compositions with just the recycled picture and the black and white line background.
 Many of the original pictures provide opportunities for students to experiment with reproducing textures. The lower left example below started out as a cake box. Getting the bumpy texture of the cake was a challenge to mimic with watercolor!!
The only problem with this project is that it is a bit addicting and once you have done one, you start looking for other great pictures to start cutting up. As I am eyeing the last cookie from this Trader Joe's holiday cookie box I am already getting the scissors ready!! Just look at all those luscious lines!!


  1. I love your design-based ideas!! Pinning!

    1. Thank you:)) By the way, I loved the analogous/viewfinder bikes that your 5th graders did this year!!!

    2. Hi Christie,
      Thank you for your compliment!!!

  2. What a creative idea! I love the design & slight abstraction aspect of this project! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Christie, I thought I left a comment here already, but I guess I didn't post it successfully, so anyhow.... I love this concept and your samples are beautiful. I'm very curious to see how the students respond and if they are also able to be successful. Have you tried it with kids yet? What grade levels are you aiming for?

    1. My plan was to do this with 5th graders, but due to scheduling difficulties with their other performing arts program I didn't get to work with them. The only grade levels left on my rotation are K, 1 and 2 and I am reluctant to try this with them. I might give it a go in one of the 2nd grades, because I, too, am anxious to see what kids can do with the concept!!! Maybe I can get into an isolated upper grade room before the end of the year to give it a try, otherwise I guess there is always next year:))

  4. This is awesome!!! I can share this art home! Thank you SOO much