Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fun with Water Color! The Beginning of Color Theory

Now that my little boy is 4, I figured its time to let him experience with water color, it's the ideal way to teach him color mixing theory that can't be done with color pencil nor crayon. So instead of all the fancy toys, I bought him a set of water color and color palette for his birthday.

This is his first time painting with water color, using the printouts of little pirates I prepared for his birthday :)

Little Pirate, first water color project with my boy

He was really determined to do a good job...

Learning the Basic
We started with these prime colors: blue, red, yellow; they are the base for creating any other colors. I taught him basic of color mixing using these 3 colors, where:

Blue + Yellow = Green
Yellow + Red = Orange
Red + Blue = Purple

(To make it more interesting, I actually told him I'm going to show him a magic ;))

Next, I introduced him to changing the depth of the colors by using white, where:

White + Red = Pink
White + Black = Grey
White + Green = Light Green

This let him understand the usage of white is to lighten up any other color when mixed.

Well, I probably should have taught him the secondary color and tertiary color mixing instead, but I just thought coloring with a 4 yo need to have more fun elements instead of just following the procedure, so I just did it my way.. :)

After he had understood the basic handling of water color painting, I just left it onto him to explore freely. For example:
- handling the color tube (squeeze just the right amount and must close tight after each use),
- mixing the colors (need to add just a little drop of water for the color to mix well),
- holding the paint brush properly (it's different from holding a color pencil),
- cleaning the paint brush after each use,
- any thing else I left out?? *thinking*

The color palette was full of colors, a result of his exploration.. :)

He painted the picture at the bottom all by himself as I took baby for a shower. I was pleasantly surprised by the result, good usage of colors and he managed to mix the brown color by himself, which was a good try!

Once the paintings are dried, we will hang them onto the Ethan's Wall - the wall in his room which features all his beautiful artwork.

Useful Tips...
1. If you are interested to try this out with your little ones too, the basic preparation you should have before beginning:

- Water color (non-toxic), a pointy brush and a color palette.
- A water proof apron for your kiddo to protect his shirt
- Some tissues for the hands and a clothe for wiping the brush after each wash.

2. I only introduced 3 colors at a time to avoid him from getting confused, let the little brain has some time to digest and absorb. :)

3. It's important to teach the kiddo to wash their hands using soup after each painting session, you wouldn't want them to eat any of the water color accidentally! ;)

4. To encouraging creativity, refrain from giving too much inputs and instructions. If he wants the hair to be blue, then so be it. It's the creativity that leads to new invention after all.

5. If you think you are not ready to handle the potential mess with water color (yes, water may spills, he may have accidentally painted onto your sofa etc), here is an alternative to introducing water color to your little ones, read on here for the shortcut method I found.

More Tips!
Want to understand more about color mixing theory? The chart below gives a good reference guide. Every color begins with that 3 prime colors in the center...

Color Mixing Chart

Alternatively, I came across this website, which gives good examples only color theory, like the one below..

I don't expect my little boy to became a great artist, nor am I a good artist myself, I just want him to enjoy learning and have the passion to explore new things. I do think that exposing little ones to drawing and playing with colors encourages them to see the world around them with a different view and life may just be a little bit more fun and interesting that way :)

Thanks for reading, have fun!

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