I love teaching painting, specially to young eager artists who want to know what can paint do. I love mixing of colors, exploring color theory, pushing the value scales, and creating textures.
One of my favorite paint to teach the basics is tempera paint. It dries quickly, has a matt finish, can be handled like watercolor and gouche. Tempera can be transparent and opaque. Brushstrokes are an asset to this paint if you can control how you apply the strokes. All of this gets me excited to teach my students all the possibilites to manipulate the paint. Many of the techniques I share with my students can be carried over to watercolor paintings, acrylics paints, and watersoluable oil paints, so I do get a bang out of the lesson.
We start with a 3″x3″ square but any size will work for the lesson. The students are asked to add lines of varying styles onto the square. Line qualities like straight, wavy, curvy, etc. Once the student has a minimum of three different lines with a max of five lines on the square the student then takes sketch paper to develop the design further.
We took our 3″x3″ and multiplied it to create a 6″x6″ square. The square is labled on one side with a A in a corner to help with the rotation of the square to create a module. The lines from the squares connect to create a continuation of the line to form shapes. You can flip the square in different configurations to get different results. Take the square and flip it over on a light table or window and trace the lines. Place a B on the opposite corner from the placement of the A on the front of the card. Now you can begin to transfer the image to a sketch and work out all the possibilites.
I required my students to do several variations until they were happy. My students knew going into the lesson, that we were focusing on three color harmonies, so to plan on having spaces to add three color harmonies with tints and shades.
Students selected from Triadic, Split Complementary, and Analogous color schemes. We created small value scales to try the paint colors out first. I encouraged students to use water to thin out the tempera paint for transparency and less water for opaque paint. I also requested they play with the brushstrokes to let the strokes become apart of the whole design almost like a fine silk tapestry of soft velvet with subtle variances.
I am super pleased with the designs and handling of tempera paint. Check out some of our designs.
Artsonia Link for more completed pieces- http://www.artsonia.com/museum/gallery.asp?exhibit=916734
Next time I will share our new watercolor animals were we applied some of what we learned with this lesson to create great animal portraits.