Lesson #3: Selecting colors

Part of the unit: Nature Inspired Collage Compositions |


How can your choice of color affect your collage?
Students will be able to:
Use color to create a mood
Students will understand that:
Artists use media and compositional elements for their expressive qualities

Assorted hand-painted and colored papers, scissors, 12"x16" white or black paper, a manilla folder for each student

Note to Teachers:  Have a bin of hand-painted papers available.  These can be produced by students who finish projects early or by student monitors.  These papers should include primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, as well as tints and shades for variation.  Additional papers such as Tru-ray colored paper, corrugated paper, and shiny paper should be collected as well. 


Student chalk drawings of flowers/plants from lesson 1; flowers/plants


Explain that they will be creating a collage inspired by the chalk drawings from lesson 1.  Direct students' attention to bins of hand-painted papers divided by similar colors (for example - a bin with tints and shades of blue). 

Divide student collages from lesson two into groups of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. 

  • What kinds of colors characterize each group?

Ask volunteers to define primary, secondary, and tertiary colors and to list the colors in each group.  Chart responses on the board. 

Invite students to compare and contrast each group of colors by asking questions such as:

  • Which group of colors has the most contrast when seen next to each other?  The least?
  • Which group of colors is the most interesting to you?  Why?
  • Which collage creates a specific mood through its use of color? Describe the mood.

Show an array of hand-painted papers.  Explain why you selected these colors.  Ask students questions such as:

  • Why should we limit the colors we choose for our collage?
  • Why is the choice of colors an important decision?

Explain that students will be selecting hand-painted papers to use in their collages. They will cut shapes inspired by their chalk drawings, but will not be gluing anything.  Using the teacher's chalk drawing from lesson 1, demonstrate how to cut one of the shapes directly from the painted paper.  Remind students that they are using scissors to draw.  They can continually refer to the actual flowers/plants themselves. 

Distribute scissors, manilla envelopes, and student chalk drawings.

Each table of students should be called in turn to select the papers for their collage.  Students will spend the rest of the worktime cutting the shapes directly from these papers.  Remind the students to continually look at their drawings and at their plants for inspiration.  Explain that their work can be abstract (it can look plant-like without being a replica of the plant) or they can make it more representational.  Explain that their finished collage should be plant-like, but does not have to duplicate exactly what they saw. 

At the end of the lesson, all papers and cut shapes should be placed in each student's manilla envelope.  Their names should be written on the envelope and collected.

In our last lesson we used prepared commercial papers. 

  • In what ways do the hand-painted papers look different from the printed papers we used last time?
  • How does choice of color affect the mood of your collage?

Ask for volunteers to show their selected colors and to explain their choices.

Distribute a xeroxed color wheel that lists the names of each color in the proper place.  Direct the students to find these colors in magazines.  Cut them out and glue them in the designated spots.