Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mandalas- Analogous Colors, Symbol Circles

What is a Mandala?

Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning circle and completion. It is also a symbol of wholeness. Mandala symbols are created in many cultures- from Tibet to the Navajo Nation. Mandalas do have a spiritual meaning for some cultures. I explain that to the kids, but I really don't go into the spirituality aspect in any great detail when I introduce the lesson. We just touch upon it.


There's a lot going on with this lesson. I use the Mandalas to help the kids think about symbols and symbolism that  reflects or connects to them. We also work with blending analogous colors.  Also, the kids have to use a compass and then a protractor to create angles. ( Yea, a math connection, no less!)

What We Do

The kids, first draw a circle with the compass. Next, we use a protractor to divide the circle into six  even 'pizza slices.'

Working with a compass and protractor

The kids then have to think of three symbols that mean something to them. Two of the symbols alternate three times each, inside the circle. The third symbol is drawn three times outside the circle.

I then review all the analogous colors using a color wheel. And, I demonstrate how to blend their color choices- three cool analogous colors, three warm analogous colors.

Practicing blending colors

The kids have to make a rough draft, using their symbols and practicing the blending  colors before they go onto the final draft. 

*Teacher Alert-You have to keep emphasizing that you have to overlap colors to achieve the blending of colors.  A lot of the kids try to do color blocking, (skipping the overlapping and as a result,) not blending.

Once they get their symbols and blending practice down and can work well with the compass and protractor, they're ready to go. It's time to start the final.

Here are some  example of finished Mandalas. 

What do you think of these Mandalas? You can let me know in the comments below.

Also, if you want another art lesson that involves symbolism, take a look at this lesson.

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