Since Lilah wants to be a painter, I'm going to have her start with watercolor. It's an approachable medium for beginners, and watercolors are wonderfully forgiving (not that they're easy to control, but "happy accidents" are what it's all about). Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green by Michael Wilcox is the book I'm going to use to help teach Lilah how to mix colors. Color-mixing can be aggravating until you've learned the process; once she's able to mix the colors she wants, she can get to the fun part...making lots and lots of art.
The color-mixing theory that has changed my (color) life
- Pure primary colors do not exist.
- Every red is either a violet-red or an orange-red.
- Blues are either violet-blue or green-blue.
- All yellows have to be either green-yellow or orange-yellow.
- We can form these six color types into a mixing guide wheel.
- By showing the colors in arrow form we can indicate the bias or leaning of each color.
- Michael Wilcox, Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green
The point is, you can't just mix any old blue and any old yellow to make a brilliant green. If you mix a blue and a yellow that are both pointing away from green on the mixing guide wheel (for example, violet-blue and orange-yellow), then you are going to get a very muddy green. If one is pointing toward green and one is pointing the other direction (for example, green-blue and orange-yellow), then you are going to get a less muddy green. If both of them are pointing toward green (for example, green-blue and green-yellow), then you are going to get a vivid green.
They asked me, "What do I need to do to become a real artist?" (As if children are not real artists instinctively...but I know what they mean.) "Well Nolan, you must draw. Draw everything. Draw with your eyes and draw with your hand. And Lilah, you must paint. Paint again and again. Paint colors you can see in the world and colors you can only see in your heart." (Actually, I didn't say that. What I said was more like, "make lots and lots of art".)
This weekend, we'll be off to find tools and inspiration, but first, I had to see what I could find on my bookshelves. One of the first books I pulled out was A Child's Book of Art by Lucy Micklethwait.
"There is no better guide than a child, for children look at every picture with fresh eyes and honesty; they look straight into a picture to absorb what is there and they respond instinctively. To them it does not matter who a painting is by, or how important it is; the work of an Italian Master will be judged on the same terms as that of an amateur."
Hmm. I've heard this from many homeschooling parents...that their child loves looking at art and talking about it. I think if I said, "Hey, we're going to look at this book of art today", my kids would probably tell me that they needed to clean their room first. They just don't like learning out of the context of real life. They want to do something. They want to learn about things in order to accomplish their goals, and for no other reason.
I don't understand them...my personality is completely the opposite. I do things so that I can learn. I'll set it on the coffee table and see what happens.