Teaching color theory and color mixing in color wheels with watercolor paints is always an exciting thing to start with when introducing paints to your Middle School students so in this blog post, I will provide you with a simple yet effective art lesson to get your class exploring art making mediums with simple strategies to create an art project featuring an expressive hand artwork that also doubles as a color wheel. Read on to find the steps for creating and the full art lesson and downloadable PDF lesson plan and worksheets.
Materials and Hook for the Art Lesson
For this art lesson, you will need two art mediums and two pieces of paper. First, you need Permanent Maker or black colored pencil and Watercolor paints. As well, you will need white paper and a choice colored piece of paper (preferably something thicker such as card stock or cover stock paper)
Begin the lesson with hooking your students on the lesson. You can click here and follow the full video art lesson and create an example to show your students or you can start off with a classroom discussion and ask them a question: “How can color influence the art we make?” Record all their answers on chart paper or on the board.
Next, you can explain you will be creating an artwork that is both a hand, gestural or observational artwork and is an exploration of color theory and color mixing.
Step 1: Draw a Rectangle
Start the artwork by having students create observational sketches of their hands with either pencil, or to challenge them, have them go right to permanent marker or black colored pencil (embrace the gesture and mistake making!) in the center of white paper. Sketch first! Model drawing it large or show them the full video art lesson that you can watch by clicking here.
Step 2: Firm Lines and Add details.
Next, have students firm up their lines and add details to their artwork. They can even experiment with line as expression or emotion to really capture their own hand the way they would like to see it.
Step 3: Color Mixing & Color Wheel
Next, have students paint on the primary colors with watercolor paints. I like to place mine in a triangle format so there is space between for mixing secondary colors.
Now have your students pull primary colors to the in between spaces to mix secondary colors. For example, pull yellow and red to the in between space and mix on the paper to make orange.
And to get some expression happening, have students blow each color towards the edge of your paper. To watch all the color mixing and blowing happen, watch the full video art lesson and get the downloadable lesson plan by clicking here.
Step 4: Paint the Background and Add the hand
Finally, paint a choice background paper color with different drips and splats of paint and let the abstract expressionism take over. You can let them explore line to seek out their inner Jackson Pollock if you want to introduce a little bit of art history into the lesson.
Let the hand and background fully dry and then you can have them cut out their hands and glue them to the background paper. finally, have them paint a black shadow along one side of the hand to complete the full effect.
Watch the FULL Art Lesson and Get the Downloadable Lesson Plan & Worksheets
If you would like to watch a full video art lesson to learn how to make this art lesson or have access to it to show your students AND the Downloadable Lesson Plan, Step-By-Step handout, Rubric and reflection (in PDF format), then make sure you click here or the image below and you can grab the full art lesson FOR FREE!
Want more FREE Art Lessons to help you Plan your Year?
Look no further! I believe in providing art lessons to help educators and homeschool families plan their year efficiently with art lessons that teach the curriculum and engage students with interesting content and art techniques. You can find all my free art lessons in one, easy to access spot and they’re all organized by seasons/times of the school year, and by holidays. Find the resources by clicking here.