Children express themselves using color on a daily basis, when they do things like pick out a shirt or choose a crayon. In reverse, colors can also affect our feelings—that’s why dreary skies may leave us gloomy and blooming flowers (hello, spring!) can fill us with joy.
Current artist-in-residence at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus and mother of two, Julia Rymer encourages parents to explore the perception of color with their children.
“Color play is really about kids exploring materials and noticing how what they are working with, be it a specific paint color or material, makes them feel,” Rymer says.
Give color play a try with your child by looking out a window and turning what you see into a tangible art project. As the window frames your point of view, Rymer suggests imagining what it would look like if you could only see colors and shapes, then simplify the objects into abstract forms. Explore how the colors and shapes interact with one another through collage.
Project by Julia Rymer
- 1 piece of canvas board, mat board, or cardboard, size 8″ x 10″ or larger
- Paper in a wide range of colors, for collaging
- Glue stick
- Acrylic paint or oil pastels (such as Cray-Pas)
- Colored pencils or crayons
- Cut pieces of colored paper into various shapes. Cut as many as will cover your board completely.
- Place different pieces of colored paper next to one another and observe how the colors affect one another. What pops forward? What looks bright or dull? Play around with your design, as if you are filling the glass of a window.
- Once you are satisfied with your design, glue your colored-paper pieces on your board, covering the entire surface.
- Let dry.
- Using drawing and/or painting materials, create a pattern or design on top of the collage; experiment with different colors as desired. Consider using complementary colors together, or lights with darks. Think about what your pattern represents, such as rain, snow, or flowers. Use simple forms and shapes.
- Once you have filled the design, step back and look at your work. How does the color palette make your child feel? What does it remind you of?
To explore colors with Julia, join her during her open studio hours, most Fridays and Saturdays throughout March at the Children’s Museum of Denver.