Warm vs. Cool: A Lesson in Keith Haring

Last fall, we gave all our students a Color Wheel test to show their artistic progress. We had them color in a blank wheel before teaching the proper order (and why the colors are arranged that way). A week ago, our lesson was a continuation of this. I taught the middle school class what warm and cool colors are, and why we define them that way. I prepared a lesson focusing on Keith Haring’s work; we looked at some of his pieces and identified which colors are warm and which are cool, and how juxtaposing them makes them feel as a viewer.

I was excited to teach them about Haring because he was a more modern and relevant artist, and all the students had expressed interest in street art before. After the lesson, I set them up to make their own pieces inspired by Haring’s work. They all drew from his simple composition and bold use of color, and made some really creative and fun drawings! They liked using the paint sticks we brought, a new medium for a class that always prefers colored pencils.