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Tints and Shades & Pierre-Auguste Renoir Elementary Art Lesson

Updated on June 20, 2019
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Tints & Shades Art Lesson for Early Elementary
Tints & Shades Art Lesson for Early Elementary

This is the 4th lesson in a series of 26 hands-on art lessons for Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grade. This lesson focuses on saturation: tints and shades. I used this plan while teaching a weekly 45 minute art class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes an art concept, introductory book, focus on an artist, and a variety of art techniques to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

A diagram demonstrating common color mixing terms. A tint is any mixture of a a bright “pure” color with white. A shade is any mixture of a “pure” color with black.
A diagram demonstrating common color mixing terms. A tint is any mixture of a a bright “pure” color with white. A shade is any mixture of a “pure” color with black. | Source

Saturation: Tints & Shades

1. Use The Big Book of Color An adventurous journey into the magical & marvelous world of color! by Lisa Martin to quickly review primary & secondary colors and warm & cool colors. Then use it to introduce tints and shades. Ask the children:

  • If you're using watercolor paints, how would you make a shade of blue, a darker color of blue? (Add more paint & less water.)
  • If you're using watercolor paints, how would you make a blue tint, a lighter color of blue? (Add less paint & more water.)
  • If you're using tempera paints [hold up the bottle of blue paint], how would you make a blue tint, a lighter color? (Add white.)
  • If you're using tempera paints [hold up the bottle of blue paint], how would you make a shade of blue, a darker color? (Add black.)

You will need:

  • The Big Book of Color An adventurous journey into the magical & marvelous world of color! by Lisa Martin or other book that covers tints & shades
  • a bottle of blue tempera paint

The Big Book of Color: An adventurous journey into the magical & marvelous world of color! (Big Book Series)
The Big Book of Color: An adventurous journey into the magical & marvelous world of color! (Big Book Series)

This is a colorful book with simple language to introduce color theory to young children. The pictures appeal to younger children (K-2nd grade) and kept the attention of my students.

 
The Umbrellas (French: Les Parapluies) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The Umbrellas (French: Les Parapluies) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir | Source

The Umbrellas by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

2. Show the children a copy of The Umbrellas by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Ask the children:

  • What do you notice first?
  • If you were in the picture, what do you think you might hear?
  • What do you think the weather is like? What do you notice about the woman in the front? Is she holding an umbrella? What do you think that means about the rain?
  • What is the main color you see? Where do you see that color?

You will need:

  • a copy of The Umbrellas by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which is part of the art collection at The National Gallery in London

Using watercolor tints and shades of blue watercolor paints to cover the background
Using watercolor tints and shades of blue watercolor paints to cover the background

Watercolor Tints & Shades

3. Lead children in using a black crayon to draw an umbrella like the one in the painting.

You will need per child:

  • watercolor paper or other sturdy white paper
  • black crayon

4. Have children paint the background using blue watercolor paint. Remind them to experiment with lighter tints and darker shades of blue. They should not paint over the umbrella, but if they do, it won't be a problem.

You will need per child:

  • watercolor paints with a larger paintbrush
  • small container of water

Renoir umbrellas using tempera paint tints and shades
Renoir umbrellas using tempera paint tints and shades

Tempera Tints & Shades

5. Have children paint the umbrellas using tempera paints.

  • As children finish up their watercolor backgrounds, pass out "palates" with a nickle-sized amount each of blue, white, blue, & black next to each child. (I use plastic lids as our palates, but you could also use a disposable plate.)
  • Remind them of how to make tints. Have them swirl together a lot of white and a little blue.
  • Point out how Renoir used very light blue in each area of the umbrella to draw your eye to it and to give depth. Have the children each create a triangle of light blue in each section of the umbrella.
  • Have them create other tints by combing various amounts of white and blue and then continue to paint the umbrella. (For the younger children, I had them start at the white and pull their brush through the blue and keep going.)
  • Repeatedly emphasize that they should not touch the other blue & the black. Also emphasize they are not to swirl all the white and blue together. They want multiple colors, not 1 color.
  • Now it's time to make shades of blue. Have them combine the black and blue and make various shades. They can paint the under part of their umbrella and their handle with this color.
  • After they have finished, give them another sheet of paper to use to create their own painting using the rest of the tints and shades of blue paint.
  • As they are doing this, take a picture of each child with their finished umbrella piece.

You will need per child:

  • paper & larger paintbrush from above activity
  • blue, white, and black tempera paint
  • plastic lids, paper plate, or other item to use as a palate
  • another sheet of watercolor paper or other sturdy white paper

(The idea for this activity came from https://happyhomeschoolnest.com/blog/renoir-art-project-for-kids .)

Tints and shades art activity inspired by Renoir's Umbrellas.
Tints and shades art activity inspired by Renoir's Umbrellas.

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© 2018 Shannon

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