Anna and I painted color wheels today. I downloaded a simple template from here, printed it on watercolor paper, pulled out our new acrylic paints, and we got down to business. Maggie wasn’t interested in this project (she was busy inside working on illustrations for a story), so I used the second template myself.
I wasn’t sure how Anna would take to this; she tends go her own way when it comes to art projects. Which is great. But I had a feeling that she might enjoy the structure of creating a rainbow wheel (she loves rainbows), especially if it involved a lot of squeezing and mixing of paint (another favorite activity).
Well, she loved it. And I loved working alongside her, mixing our colors and filling our wheels. We started with the primary colors, and then made secondary and tertiary colors. The above website has instructions for making them very precisely; we opted for winging it and having a good time.
When we were finished, Anna examined both the wheels and said with some disappointment, “Yours is much neater than mine.” Uh-oh. This is exactly the reason that I’m careful about making art with the girls–I don’t want them making unnecessary comparisons to what an adult can do–even an untrained, amateurish adult like me! But here we were. So I said to her, “Look at your purple–I think it’s more of a true purple, don’t you think? I put a little too much red in mine.” Apparently this was the right thing to say, because Anna puffed up a little and responded reflectively, “Well, I mixed very carefully, and you painted very carefully, Mama.”
“Well, maybe,” I said, “but I don’t know that your painting was less careful than mine. I think it’s just more exuberant.”
Which should not be a surprise to anyone around here.
A brief post script: the paints we used today were the student acrylics from Dick Blick, specifically the color mixing assortment. As we’ve gotten more interested in mixing our own colors, we’ve been frustrated with the limitations of the cheap tempera paint we’ve been using. So I recently splurged on both the above acrylics and the Dick Blick student tempera. What a difference! Although not specifically washable, I’ve found the student tempera to clean up very easily–and the colors are wonderful, so much better. We’ve also taken their advice to use magenta and turquoise for mixing, which has finally yielded the colors we were hoping for. I’m not sure why it took me so long to buy quality paint–I guess it seemed extravagant, since it’s one art supply we use in larger quantities–but I’m so glad I finally did.