a color study is my fave

November 7, 2012

Today’s colorful post is brought to you by the talented Barbara Rucci. Although this art project is meant for kids, I can’t wait to try liquid watercolors out myself.

Simple, open-ended art projects are what kids love best. With no pressure on them to create an end product, they are allowed to focus on the process and explore the medium while (hopefully) finding their own personal expression.

This is not to say that there can’t be rules! In these color studies, which I just love, there were two rules. First, you could only use one color palette at a time. Second, you had to cover the whole page. At first, it was hard for them to stick to one set of colors. Seeing all of the pretty colors, they really wanted to make rainbows (of course!). But soon they were going through stacks of paper, experimenting with and exploring the paint and how it moved on the page.

As they painted, I used new words and phrases to broaden their “language of art”. We talked about palette, study, color families and color wash. I also made a point of using exotic color names so that soon they were painting with aquamarine, forest, crimson, magenta and ochre. They felt very grown up!

If you haven’t ever used liquid watercolors, they are worth every penny! Their vibrant colors are unrivaled, and they are great for covering large areas. I ran out of mine, so I used tube watercolors, which have the same effect, minus the vibrancy.

– Liquid Watercolor or Watercolor Tubes
– Paper (I used plain copy paper, cut in half. Watercolor paper would be best as it won’t crinkle when drying)
– Plastic Egg Cartons
– Brushes
– Sponge

We pressed our dried pages underneath some books before hanging them up on the wall. You could also cut them into strips and make a paper chain, or string them on a ribbon and make a banner!

A word about mess: Watercolors are the least messy of the painting mediums, but not so for liquid watercolor. I would suggest laying down a towel first, then covering that with newspaper. One added bonus of this project is that the aftermath is literally a beautiful mess. I left my paper-covered table up for days it was so pretty.

Have fun!

You can find more of Barbara’s art projects at Art Bar Blog or shop her cool holiday postcards at Late Night Cake.


  • On November 7, 2012 , little kitchie said:

    how beautiful! definitely not just for kids, i’m going to try this in pink myself! thanks for the post! xx

  • On November 7, 2012 , mel b said:

    tres cool. will try tonight with my son as i am already envisioning doing 4 like in first photo to add a little punch to a blank wall i have going. thanks for the idea and love the artbarblog blog…fun!

  • On November 7, 2012 , Emily said:

    Watercolors are the absolute best! You can be really messy with them and they still come out so beautiful.

  • On November 7, 2012 , Joy | Frock Files said:

    These are so gorgeous! I’ve been trying to think of a fun way to brighten up our bedroom and I think this is it. Messy = creativity.

  • On November 7, 2012 , Lena said:

    How gorgeous–no doubt my adult versions would be far less artistic!

  • On November 7, 2012 , veronica said:

    I love these! Isn’t it wonderful that art is an acquired skill and not a god-given talent? Anyone can learn it at any time!

  • On November 8, 2012 , Tara said:

    So pretty! I can’t wait to do this with my son.

  • On November 9, 2012 , anna - Today I Like Blog said:

    I love the colors you chose!!!! they light up any room!

  • On November 9, 2012 , domonique @ a bowl full of simple said:

    I love using liquid watercolors. thy are so much more vibrant. we like to paint with them using q-tips, they are just the right size for little fingers!

  • On November 9, 2012 , Linda Geertsen said:

    This is a mess I will handle very well. And a mess my little one will be wanting very often. Thanks! I am happy to learn about these watercolor mediums.

  • On November 10, 2012 , Barbara | Art Bar said:

    Wow! It’s so fun to read all of these comments. I’m so glad our little project inspired you. Thank you, Melanie, for inviting me to share on your blog. You have such a lovely & creative community. xo

  • On December 11, 2012 , frost said:

    such pretty colors=)

  • On January 6, 2013 , Karen said:

    Beautiful colors! These are also great to use for collage (think Eric Carle)…just cut into shapes and paste on a background (or do the reverse and use these as the background with black silhouette shapes pasted on). Thanks for sharing!

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