Monday, December 26, 2011

Re-inventing the Color Wheel

Elicia's sepia color wheel shows a range of values from light to dark.  There is writing on the side of each sample, so make sure you read the description below for more information about this activity!

One of the most important parts of the unit on using sepia tone was the creation of a sepia tone color wheel.  I had the students use a compass to draw a large circle which they divided into eight sections with a ruler.  I set up a wide variety of media on the supply table, and explained that for this activity they would be asked to experiment with combining different materials to create sepia tones.  The materials included oil pastels, chalk pastels, watercolor paints, crayons, acrylic gloss medium, construction paper and wallpaper scraps. I asked the students to use at least two materials to make each sample on their wheel.  Each student selected a reproduction of a photo by Edward S. Curtis to use as their inspiration for matching their sepia tones and this helped  a lot!
I stressed the importance of using this activity as a time for experimentation and documentation of what worked and didn't work the way they had expected it to.  For example, we learned that some materials will layer and blend together better than other ones.  It was important that the students record the process that they used to make their sepia tones, and I referred to this as writing down the "recipe" that they had used for each one.  You will notice the sequential steps that they wrote on the side of each sample on their color wheels.  I explained that they would need these recipes for use in the sepia portrait assignment that was coming up as the next part of the unit. Everyone was very excited to find new ways of creating light , medium and dark sepia tones.  It was very cool to see the students sharing the creative ways that they combined materials.  There were many times that I was surprised that some of the materials actually produced these results!  This activity created a great dialogue between students and generated excitement for what was to come!  The planning proved to be an invaluable part of the unit, so check out the incredible results in the sepia portraits that I will be posting really soon!

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