Color + Shape = Personality!

See at Hill Center’s Young Artists Gallery


Second grade students at Tyler ES (1001 G St. SE) have been learning about Expressionism and digging deep within to show their true colors through their art.  Their teacher, Amanda Swift, is using “The Emotional Color Wheel: Elementary Edition: A Guide to Creating Expressionist Art for Children,” a book by Eric Gibbons, as a starting point. As Gibbons points out “It’s easy to say you love someone or dislike something. You can even draw things to help people understand these feelings, like a heart of a frowning face. But artists can say the same thing with colors and shapes.”

Students learned that triangles can show someone is aggressive, angry or even motivated and ambitious. Circles can indicate that a person is friendly, fun and playful like a ball; and squares can represent someone who is stable, strong, dependable – or maybe even a little boring.  Colors can have meaning too: red-angry, loving; yellow- happy, warm; orange- impulsive, hot-headed; green- youthful, healthy; blue- calm, sad; purple- peaceful, quiet.  Texture can add yet another dimension, prickly, smooth, or patterned.

With this understanding, the kids made images of themselves using paint, markers and oil pastels, reflecting both their view of themselves – and the perspective of others who are important in their lives. One student described herself as loving, caring and strong.  She used circles for loving and caring and squares for strong. She then paired red with loving, green with caring and blue for strong. Another students said he’s funny, frightening, boring and strong. He used circles and yellow for funny, triangles and red for frightening, and squares and blue for boring and strong.

Ms. Swift invites you to “view the unique shapes they created to match the adjectives they used to describe themselves… and the colors and textures that reflect how they think other people in their life see them.  The results are intriguing with a lot of room for the imagination to soar.  Not to mention, the students literally put themselves into their creations.  If you see the show, you’ll be getting to know our beautiful Tyler children and how amazing they truly are!”

“Color + Shape = Personality!”” will be on view in the Young Artists Gallery on the ground floor at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave, SE through the end of February.