Take some yellow and red paint. Demonstrate painting a thick, yellow stripe, horizontally, onto the bottom of a piece of paper. Emphasise to the children that they only need a tiny amount of red paint on their brush to mix into the yellow. Paint the next stripe of orange paint. Demonstrate how to gradually add more red into the yellow and each time paint a horizontal stripe onto the paper until you have a sunset.
Some options for the silhouette are;
- Draw round large stencils onto black paper. Animals work well. Cut them out and glue them on. A strip of black ground, torn or cut looks nice too. If you don't have stencils you can print an animal using some free clip art, cut it out, draw around it onto card thus making your own animal to draw around. Alternatively let the children draw their own silhouettes onto black paper. (I find that they can't resist drawing faces though!)
- Wait until the sunset has dried and then paint on any silhouettes that you feel like, with black paint. Trees, building skylines, mountains, people or animals all look effective.
If you are working with older children, this is also a good introduction to pastels. Use yellow at the bottom and gradually use darker shades of orange, until you get to just red. Show the children how to blend the pastel on the paper, with their fingers, between different colours to get even more shades. The silhouettes look best done with charcoal or black pastel. If you want to, you can fix the pastel with a spray fixative or hairspray, but that's best done outside, or after the children have gone, as the fumes are quite strong.
Some possible outcomes will be,
- That the children don't have enough yellow showing once the black ground is glued on. So make sure that the black strip is thin, and the children know to have a thick stripe of yellow at the bottom.
- Other children will put too much red into the yellow paint, so they don't have many shades of orange in between yellow and red.
- Some children will just enjoy painting the whole picture orange and then possibly black, but that's fine. Remember the idea is that the children enjoy the experience of painting, not that you get something to display. Even the ones who end up with a picture covered in orange or black paint will have learnt something. Hopefully, that red and yellow make orange and painting is fun!