Go outside and look at how we use colour in our gardens – take photos of flower beds in public areas, bunches of flowers and observe how colours occur naturally - flowers, stems, leaves, branches etc. Using a colour wheel, identify primary and secondary colours. Try to work out which colour combination has been used for planting. Opposite colours on the wheel look great in a contrasting way, and colours next to each other are complimentary, creating a harmonious effect.
Here are some fun ideas to explore
Collect a rainbow – Using strips of double sided sticky tape on a card. Assign a colour to groups of children and give a set time for collecting fallen plant matter. On completion lay out the strips in the order of the rainbow.
Using paint colour swatches – can children find a matching colour in nature? Cut a hole in the card so learners can match the foliage or flowers closely. Discuss finds using descriptive colour vocabulary (vermilion, magenta, bronze etc) taking inspiration from the named paint colours.
Children collect a colourful, fallen plant part, stick it onto paper and experiment mixing with paint to replicate the colour and shape and use as an inspiration to create abstract pictures.
Be inspired by famous artists
Look at the work of Piet Mondrian, Gustav Klimt, Georges Seurat and William Morris – all very different artists who have used nature in developing their style of work.
Create 3D spirals with coloured leaves and/or flowers after looking at The Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt.
Sketch observed trees with charcoal, like the early work created by Piet Mondrian or make 3D blocks of colour with fallen foliage on a grid, like his later geometric, abstract work.
Observe the repetitive nature of the fabric designs by William Morris. After some close observation, experiment with making sketches of flowers and leaves using a range of materials (from felt pens to chalk pastels). Photocopy the images created. Working in pairs repeat the images on a long strip of paper.
Work collaboratively on a large scale painting project – using sponges, create a garden scene using the pointillist technique (dots of coloured paint), like Seurat.
Give time for learners to talk about their creations and answer questions.
Review each others' work, make positive comments using the descriptive key vocabulary where possible.
Collect sketches of plants and flowers, colour sticky strips and photos in sketch books, to be revisited for later projects.