Art students get perspective on color, media

For Leah Zorn’s Studio in Art students, it’s all about color these days.

Zorn said her students at Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School have been learning the finer points of color theory — how primary colors (yellow, magenta and cyan) can be mixed to create secondary colors (orange, green and violet) and intermediate colors (yellow-green, yellow-orange, etc.); how color combinations can affect the feeling of a work; and how viewers respond to works of art.

“As an introductory lesson, students used primary colored food coloring to become familiar with color-mixing, as they made collaborative ‘cookie color wheels,’” Zorn said. From there, her students studied monochromatic, complementary, analogous, and triadic colors, then created a four-part painting focused on each group of colors.

“The subject of their painting was their choice, but students needed to incorporate each of the four color groups strategically into their work,” Zorn explained.

Meanwhile, Zorn’s Basic Drawing students have delved into a variety of different drawing media and techniques this month, including pen and ink, charcoal, oil pastels, chalk pastels, Conte crayons, and colored pencils.

To hone the students’ powers of observation, Zorn also showed her students how to use a viewfinder to draw objects from direct observation.

A viewfinder is a solid frame with a small opening or aperture. An artist can hold up the viewfinder and look through it to focus on just one specific object or area while looking at a still life or scene.

“After practicing each medium and technique, students were able to choose their own still life objects and drawing materials, as the subject of their next drawing project,” Zorn said.