Thursday, 31 May 2012

just when you thought we had finished with butterflies…

A new technique to explore in art on Wednesday in answer to this question; what’s so special about watercolour paper?  But first, another question to ponder.  You see, along with our special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper, we would be using just three colours of watercolour paint; red, yellow and blue.  Together, they have a special name.  Does anyone know what that is?

In answer, a quiet voice from the back of the carpet.  ‘They are primary colours.’

And so they are.  Thank you Maddie!

Does anyone know what’s so special about these three primary colours?  Why did I choose just them?

‘Because they make all of the colours,’ answered Yanis.

And so they do*.  Thank you Yanis!

Which of course led to this next question.  And the ones following …

If, for example, I was to take yellow and red and mix them together, what colour would that make?

Bianca’s hand is up like a rocket!  ‘Orange!’ her quick response.

Red and blue?

Itaru’s turn.  ‘Purple,’ he confirmed.

Finally, we think about yellow and blue, which somewhat surprisingly caused a bit of consternation amongst the troops.  Finally we are rescued by Lakeisha, who knows.  ‘Green,’ she tells us.  Phew!

And now Nicholas has a bit of a tricky question.  ‘How do you get black?’ he asks.

And the answer rather depends on whether you are a chemist (yes) or a physicist (no)*.  For our purposes, it’s probably safest to say that if you mix up all three primary colours, you’ll eventually get black (or a mucky dark brown mud).  But I digress.  Actually with our mixing we are rather hoping not to get as far as mucky dark brown mud.

Anyway, let’s get back to our special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper.  And a rather odd instruction.  Because the first thing we are going to do is paint with water!  Not even the tiniest dab of red nor of yellow nor even of blue.

‘But I won’t be able to see what I am doing,’was a common refrain.  But actually, once we start, all is OK as you too will see.

The task was to paint a butterfly (experts we are by now!) onto our special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper, using just water; we want to wet the paper in a butterfly shape.

_MG_8629   _MG_8628  

(There, can you make out the butterfly in the second image?)

Next, choose just one of our three primary colours to paint (at least) the upper part of each wing in broad sweeping strokes.  You will be putting wet paint onto wet paper.  As you work, watch what happens to the paint.

When you want to try out a second colour, wash the brush and dab it onto a paper towel, to make sure that it is really clean; we are mixing the paints (or strictly speaking, allowing the paints to mix) on the paper and not in the palette.  Once your brush is squeaky clean, you might like to try adding a drop or a blob or even a line of your new colour.

As before, watch what happens when you add it.

Squeaks and squeals follow.  And here…..


as well as here…


and also here…..


you can see why!  Exciting, huh?

When you add wet paint to wet watercolour paper, the paint whooshes along; and if two colours meet, then they mix themselves!

And, even better, once the paper is dry - and special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper is designed to dry quickly - you can add paint which won’t race across the page and mix itself up…..but sadly, due to a rather looooong assembly, we ran out of time even for that, so like us, you will have to wait until next week to see how that works; meanwhile…..

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enjoy the story so far!

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