Tag Archives: cool colors

Winter or Ice Castles


I love this project. It is a fun one to teach tint, shade, and tone during the winter months. Students drew castles in Sharpie marker on a separate paper from the background. For the background, they painted cool winter backgrounds using tints, shades and tones of cool colors. They then cut out and glued the castle onto the background. I typically do shorter lessons so this was done in about 45 minutes. With the paint still wet, we used white glue to adhere the castles to the background and it worked out great.

I generally show my students pictures of ice castles from around the world to inspire them. They are encouraged to create their own type of castle and use tints, shades, and tones to make the image more interesting.

Art Club Paper Marbling


Part of my job as the K-8 Art Teacher is to facilitate the middle school art club on Fridays. I am always trying to come up with fun ways to create arts or crafts that we may not do in class.

I found a carton of liquid watercolor in the storage cabinet and knew this would be fun for them.

I started with small plastic trays that are shallow and about 9×12. I got them from a grocery store. I demonstrated how to spray the shaving cream into the trays and smooth it out.  I was gifted some long pipettes from a lab that went out of business so we used those in the tall jars of paint. We used a wooden craft stick to smooth out the cream and then dropped color onto the foam.

In the past we have made our own marbling rakes and combs with toothpicks and cardboard. Today as we were short on time, we used pick combs and wooden skewers. After they laid the paper in the trays, they scraped the cream off into the trash with used gift cards. The prints are basically dry at this point but you want to leave them a bit if you are using more absorbent paper.

We tried to keep our trays separated by warm and cool tones but by the end, most trays were mixed up colorful and messy. We scraped the bulk of the cream into the trash can and rinsed out the trays.

Each student pulled about six or eight sheets in our forty minute club time.  My art club students had a great time with this project.

Oil Pastel Flowers



My Grade Two classes did these. They have a play that they do every year called “Going Buggy” This seemed like a good lesson to add to the bug lessons we have done in the past-bugs like plants after all.


I take out all the black pans from our watercolors to keep kids from painting every thing black because I do that, I try to find fun projects to do to use up the black paint.


Students were instructed to create either warm or cool colored flowers and then the centers were to be the opposite.


When finished, they painted black around the flowers.


Sailboat Silhouette



My students and parents LOVE this lesson. I do this one with First Grade. This year, I did the lesson with Grade 1 and the Grade 1 and Grade 2 Combo classes.


I think it always turns out great. The nice thing about this is if they make a mark they do not like, they can just color over it and it becomes a bigger boat or another sail. It also reinforces how to draw basic shapes.


This year, I had extra wide sharpies which made it easier for my students to color in large sails or large boats.



I think one key to success is to make sure the students go slowly around the outside and then they can move quickly when they are in the middle of the image.


Cool Colored Fall Corn



Students in grade 2 learned about warm and cool colors and tints and shades. I saw a similar image on Artsonia a while back and tried to find it but could not so I have no idea who originated this lesson.


Students first drew an ear of corn with the husks at the top in black oil pastel. They filled in with each kernel using cool colored paint that was pre-mixed.

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We used tints and shades of blue and purple for the corn. When the corn was finished, the students painted the background using warm colors.

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First Grade Radial Design


After creating a mandala at Art Walk, I knew it would be fun to do it with my students. I tried it with first grade. While it was a windy, hot, crazy weather day with chatty students we got these finished and they looked good.

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I searched locally for templates I could use with my students but found nothing. When I found mandala templates or cake patterns online, they started at $12. Instead, the kids used pattern blocks dipped in white paint. I thought I had some donated doilies but could not find them this a.m. so we used blocks instead.

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We talked about radial symmetry, pattern and warm and cool colors. Student added 10-12 dots of paint onto their paper.  I did help a few of them by squeezing out paint to speed along that process.

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Then they folded their paper diagonally, opened it, folded it to the opposite diagonal corner, opened it, then horizontal fold and open and the opposite way fold and open. Perfection is not necessary. It can be messy, imperfect and a little squished as long as the paper doesn’t tear. It all adds to the uniqueness of the final image.

There were lots of oohs and aahs as they discovered how the colors mixed and blended. They were allowed 3 paintings. 1 cool, 1 warm and 1 free choice.

Once complete, they could print additional patterns with the pattern blocks and white paint or little plastic cups that I had in my cabinets.

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It’s Cool to be a Square


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Students in my K/1 classes are always working on art concepts. Today was all about warm and cool colors and patterns.


For this lesson, students used a quarter of a square drawn in the corner of their paper as the starting point.

Students painted their square in cool colors with the background in warm colors. Color mixing was encouraged. They could add additional patterns if they chose to.


Once complete, we put them together to make giant squares.


Warm Patterned Suns


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Another project for the K/1 group. Warm suns with cool backgrounds.


Each student had a square paper with a quarter circle drawn on the square. I used a large lid for the template. They could do any type of sun they wanted to in warm colors. The background was to be done in cool colors.


When complete, they added patterns as they chose to.

Psychedelic Sunflowers


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Adapted from an Arts and Activities lesson. Here is their website: http://www.artsandactivities.com/

Here is where they have the “It Works!” page where I described my process for shortening the two day lesson into a one period version. http://www.artsandactivities.com/Itworks75.html

Student drew images of giant flowers lightly in pencil. We used 9×12 paper so that we could finish in about an hour. They used permanent marker to dot the lines. They used watercolor to fill in the flowers with warm colors and the background with cool colors.


Sailboat Silhouette


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I have been doing these for years-they were a variation on a lesson in the Art Attack program that my daughter’s school adopted many years ago. I usually do this with First Grade but you can do it with just about any age group and can change the silhouette subject.

Silhouettes and watercolor are fun and they look pretty.


Students first draw their sailboats with a permanent marker. A great way to reinforce shapes. (triangles, trapezoids, half circles).


Then they paint shadows under the boats.

Then they paint the sky in warm colors.

Then they paint the sea in cool colors.




For second grade, one year, the students did dinosaurs-warm ground, cool skies. Same lesson-different subject.

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