Lesson #5: Balancing Color

Part of the unit: Painting a Neighborhood Scene |


How can we use color to create balance?
Students will be able to:
Use color to create balance
Students will understand that:
Artists use color to create a balanced composition.

Red, yellow, blue, black and white tempera paint;

Brushes, water cans, sponges, student paintings from lesson 4


Dong Kingman's Sing Chung Chinatown


Display Kingman's Sing Chung Chinatown.

Ask students to focus on how Kingman uses the color red in his painting.

Explain that he uses red to lead the viewer's eye around the picture.

Cover the red areas on the left side of the picture.

  • How does covering the red on one side change how you view the painting?

Ask a student volunteer to select another color in the painting and to describe how Kingman uses it on both sides of his painting.

Explain that artists use color to create balance in a composition. 

  • What does the word "balance" mean in English?
  • What do you think it means in art?  (a feeling of equal weight on both sides of a picture)

Ask a student to share their work-in-progress with the class.

  • Where is color used to create balance?
  • Where might the artist add another color to create balance?

Students will continue to paint their representations of a neighborhood block.  The teacher should emphasize:

  • Mixing secondary colors
  • Mixing tints and shades of the secondary colors
  • Using color to create balance

Direct the students at each table to share their work and to select one painting that illustrates the use of color to create balance.  These wet paintings should be placed on one large table (or the floor) for all to see. Ask for volunteers to select a painting and explain how the student used color to create balance.

In preparation for their last lesson, students should select either Kingman's Sing Chung Chinatown or Fasanella's Happy and Bud Service Station (found online). List at least 10 details in the painting that help create a sense of place.  They should then think about what details they need to add to their owpaintings to create a sense of place.  These details should be written down and brought to the next class session.