String Relief with Colour Tints (October 2012)

The aim of this project was to teach my five and six year olds about mixing colour “tints”, which are created by adding white to a colour to make a lighter version.

The first step was to make an abstract composition by ‘drawing’ with string. Each child was given a piece of corrugated cardboard (cut from a cardboard box) which they spread with glue across the entire surface. Then the kids created looping patterns with lengths of parcel string, making sure that the string curved backwards and forwards, overlapping itself, thus creating lots of ‘fields’ to contain their colour tints.

While the glue dried a little, each child chose a base colour – red, blue or green. I squirted a blob of the coloured paint onto a paper plate, and then added three blobs of white paint. The kids got started creating their first tint by scooping up a brush-full of the base colour and mixing it into the first blob of white.

When the first tint was thoroughly blended, they took their brush directly to the next white paint blob (without taking more of the base colour) and mixed again, so that the colour remaining in the brush mixed with the white to produce a lighter tint. After repeating the process to create an even lighter tint, each child had three tints, plus their original colour, with which to paint their string design.

Using a small brush, the children carefully filled in the colour ‘fields’ created by the loops of string, trying not to put the same colour tints next to each other.

The crackled effect of the paint in the finished artworks was a happy accident, resulting from the paint colours splitting when the children painted on top of still-wet glue. I think it adds another dimension of texture and interest to the painted reliefs.

Please click through the gallery to view more examples…



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