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Color My World

Colorful Meanings: In the United States, if you see the color red on a road sign, how should you react? It probably would be a good idea to stop. Colors can have particular meanings in different places and situations. Pick a color and make a list of different things (road signs, patriotic symbols, holidays, etc.) that you connect with that color. Create a collage to reflect those connections.  

Colorful Moods: What does it mean to feel blue? Often, we can use colors to describe emotions we are feeling. Discuss what colors make you happy. Sad? What is an angry color? Think about how you are feeling today. Then create a self-portrait using the colors that best match your mood.  

Comparing Colors: Create a work of art using oil paints or oil sticks. Then create the same picture with tempera paint or watercolors. Compare the two paintings. How are the colors different? Which paint works best for blending colors? Think about why artists would choose one type or the other. What are the pros and cons of each type of paint? Which one would you prefer to work with?  

Color Theory: Both artists and scientists have wondered how colors interact with each other. Research color theories that explain how colors behave. Then make a color wheel to illustrate your findings.  

Colorful Descriptions: Vincent van Gogh wrote many letters to family and friends describing the vivid colors of the landscape in the south of France. Look at a picture of an inspiring landscape and write a letter to a friend describing it in terms of the colors you see.  

Light and Color: How do colors change with the light? Compare the same scene at different times of day and in different weather. How does the amount of light change the colors you see? How do those colors affect the mood of the scene? Record each observation in a log and compare your findings.  

Color Your World: Tony Berlant used materials found in his environment to create the colorful Mountain Journey. Look at the environment that surrounds you. What colors do you notice? Gather colorful materials (both natural and manmade) to create a work of art inspired by your own environment.  

A Trip to the Art Museum: Visit The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and see the real works of art. Request the tour "Why is the Sky Yellow?: Artists' Choices" to pursue some of the ideas explored in these activities. Teachers, download a Tour Request Form here to arrange for a docent-led or self-guided tour.  

Exploring Color: Learn more about how artists use color by visiting "The Artist's Toolkit" at . Enter the site and click on "Explore the Toolkit." Then select the different links under the "Color" section to begin your exploration.  

November 2004