Submitted by: Dorothy Morris, McCluer North High School in Florissant, MO
Unit: Color - Painting - acrylics
Lesson: Color Theory and Acrylic Painting
Grade Level: High School (adaptable to middle school)
Create a value scale of 10 steps from white to black. Use Acrylic Paint and Poster Board. Each swatch should be 2" x 4" (5 x 10 cm) and be a flat, even value.
1. Cut each rectangle out, punch a hole either at the corner or in the top center (With Hole Paper Punch).
2. Clip together with a book ring. Be sure to put your name on this.
1. Use an index card to make a viewfinder with an opening of 2" x 3" (5 x 7.6 cm).
2. Use class magazines to find an abstracted composition which meets the following
1. Has a focal point (emphasis)
2. Has repetition of colors and/or shapes
3. Has movement which will lead your eye around the total composition
4. Contains nothing easily recognizable as an object
5. Must be a photo (no drawings or illustrations)
Finished -Showing all steps Finished painting Black and white study
3. Enlarge your image onto 24" x 36" (61 x 91 cm) Tag board.
1. Use Drawing Pencils.
2. Sketch in only large shapes; you will paint in the details later.
4. Using Acrylic Paint, paint your composition matching the colors in photo section you've
1. Consider value, use your swatches if necessary to help you see the gray
2. Match the intensity (brightness or dullness)
3. Use complements to dull colors--move beyond adding just black or white to
Use the 12 inch (30.5 cm) cardboard circle to trace a circle onto a piece of Drawing Paper. Cut out the circle to make a really large
a. Place the viewfinder over your painting to isolate an interesting composition within the
b. Place Tracing Paper on top and trace the large shapes
c. Transfer the circular format design onto the surface of the cardboard circle
d. Paint, using only shades of gray
e. Match the values of your grays to the colors of the original painting by using the
1. Scan your original 2" x 3" (5 x 7.6 cm) photo section.
2. Change the image to gray-scale and print out.
3. Check how accurately your painted grays match the digital image.
Consider, think about and be prepared to discuss the following:
What other kinds of situations/things could you use as sources for abstracted artworks?
To match a color, what qualities of paint do you have to consider?
How does the use/lack of use of color affect the emotional impact of your work?
How and when might you use this?
How does the format of the frame (circular vs. rectangular in this instance) affect your compositional choices?