I begin with a discussion of the basic colors on the color wheel while reviewing their knowledge up to this point for primary, secondary, and complementary colors. What are those colors that sit in between? Notice how they are grouped. What colors remind you of things that are warm or hot? What colors remind you of things that are cool or cold? Why?
First we then begin making a stencil (yet another form of printmaking) of different leaves such as maple, oak, beech, palm and pine. You can have these leave stencils cut for them or have students cut them out if they are good with scissors.
We separate our chalk into warm and cool colors. Red, yellow, orange, and their hues are separated as the warm colors. Cool colors are separated as blue, purple, green, and their hues.
On a 12x18 (30.5 x 46 cm) black construction paper, I model how to place a stencil down and work the chalk towards the inside. I then rub the colors together to form a variety of warm and cool colors. Two thirds of their colors are warm colors that are mixed inside the leaf. When finished, they can place the stencil in a new location that can overlap the previous rubbing. Students continue with a variety of color combinations. They love the results of the gem-like colors they create.
I also talk about positive and negative space and the balance of colors as they work. This project hits a lot of the principles of art as well.