Virtual Second Saturdays for Families: Color Combinations

August 8, 2020 all-day

Second Saturday artmaking

What makes some colors standout and others fade in the background? Explore how artists use color to convey atmosphere and mood with art-making demonstrations, collection connections, and story time in English & Spanish.


Artist: Louis Anquetin, French, 1861-1932
Title: Avenue de Clichy (Street—Five O’clock in the Evening)
Date: 1887
Media: Oil on paper

The scene here is the intersection of the Avenue de Clichy and the Avenue de St. Ouen, near Anquetin’s home in Paris. The artist transformed this ordinary street corner into a magical environment through his use of color. The dominant blue areas edged with gold and black contour lines suggest the gathering dusk and the glow of gas lamps. Allow your eyes to wander over the surface of this painting. Let’s take a look at all the different colors. 

Can you find red, yellow, and blue in this painting? Do you know why these colors are important? Red, yellow, and blue are known as the primary colors. All the other colors— except white and black—can be made by mixing these colors. 

The artist used shades of color to make this street scene look real. A shade of a color is how light or dark it is. If we look closely, we see there are at least three different shades of blue. 

Anquetin used warm and cool colors in this painting. Red, yellow, and orange are warm colors. These colors grab your attention. Blue, green, and purple are cool colors. These colors tend to be quieter and less noticeable. Where do you see warm and cool colors in this painting?

One Fish, Two Fish
Watch Youth and Community Programs Manager Marisely Gonzalez create an ocean scene using warm and cool colors. Grab your markers and design your own colorful artwork. 


Artist: Anni Albers, American, born Germany 1899-1994
Title: In Orbit 
Date: 1957
Media: Wool

Albers trained at the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop where she became a master weaver. She was instrumental in expanding ideas about textiles beyond their useful quality or designation as “craft.” Albers called her work “pictorial weavings” to emphasize their significance as art. 

Albers used looms to make her textile designs. The loom is a device used to make fabric. It weaves threads over and under other threads to create a textile. Albers embraced new techniques and unusual materials that further defined modern weaving. She manipulated the loom to twist threads, resulting in intricate, textured layers and dense surfaces. She used color, too, to further delineate geometric shapes and patterns such as the two circles and a cross that appear to float across this composition.

Paper Weaving
Watch Youth and Community Programs Manager Marisely Gonzalez weave construction paper to create a colorful composition. Design your own woven piece using scrap paper found in your home. Try old magazines, gift-wrap or left over mail.  



Want to see the loom in action? Watch Docent and Tour Programs Manager, Angela Parker as she works on her loom and draws inspiration from textile artist Anni Albers. 



Learn how a pet fish uses color to illustrate the beautiful and mysterious world beyond her fishbowl. Listen to Docent Christi Moraga read the bilingual children’s book “El Asombroso Pez Acuarela” by Carolyn Dee Flores.


The artist Josef Albers spent his artistic career studying how color could affect the mood of a piece. Listen to Youth and Community Programs Manager Marisely Gonzalez read about Albers fascination with color in the children’s book An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers by Natasha Wing. 



View a demonstration from The Discovery Museum and Planetarium’s lab. This presentation is all about light and how we see (and don’t see) it! Explore what happens when colors mix, learn about forms of light and much more!