Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rothko Color Field Inspirations

A BIG thanks to Katie at Experiments in Art Education for her idea of using chalk pastels on construction paper to create emotion driven Rothko Color Field pieces. With just 30 minutes to go in our last class(K-3rd), it seemed like the perfect art lesson following so many animal themed projects. After looking at some of the artist's works, we talked about different emotions, brainstorming on the whiteboard: calm, happy, angry, excited, sad, ect..( my personal favorite, "out of control".)

Their assignment was to choose an emotion and then a long sheet of colored construction paper(Katie used only black which may have created a bit more depth and mystery) for the base of this mood. From there, they created "fields" of color to convey their emotion. I encouraged them to have one color "bleed" into the next by blending in circular motions. When they were all done, I held up each piece and the children guessed which emotion the artist was trying to convey. But I told them there were no right and wrong interpretations. An artist and a viewer could have two completely different interpretations of the same work of art. This was a fun project for my group. And when I told them Rothko's "White Center ( Yellow, Pink and Lavendar on Rose") sold for $72.8 million, they were even more enthralled by the project. : D


  1. Very Ethereally beautiful, Mary. My faves are #1 and #6. They look like what I imagine heaven might look like. So I guess your students expressed an emotion that stirred one up in me? Cool!

  2. Mary, I love the subtle transition of color in these works. I have steered away from pastels this year because of the "mess factor" of chalk on all those little fingers!! Seeing these, though, makes me want to dive right in and give it a try:)
    Funny that I think of pastels as messier than paint (which we use ALL the time:))

  3. One of my favorite artists.
    Your students interpreted his work beautifully.
    I love them all.

  4. These are Beautiful Mary..

  5. Thanks very much! I did my own experiment piece first in the morning while I was drinking coffee and the children guessed "sleepy", "calm", "peaceful".
    Christie, I don't know what possessed me to do so many chalk pastel projects with a group that often chose the full hand blending method despite my repeated directions of the 1 to 2 finger blending rule. :D But then again, pastel and charcoal are my personal media of choice.

  6. I love the colours! Very nice effect!


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