Primary Colors

I want to begin by thanking Kathy, “the picture lady” for her post about a fun art project! It’s “Rolling Marbles in Paint” — something I would never have thought of! Once I read about the project, I couldn’t wait to try it.

Our grandson, Madox, was here on Wednesday. Grandma had already assembled all the supplies we would need. It’s a good thing I have various art supplies on hand because the shelves of the art supply aisles are getting bare here. I didn’t have marbles, but I was able to buy a little bag in Walmart’s toy section. I’m looking forward to actually playing marbles with the grandkids now, too!

But back to the project.

I used a little 6-cup muffin tin to hold our paints. The only paints I had available were the “poster paints” I’ve used in the past for my painting lessons in Arnold Fletcher’s book. They worked just fine, although they were quite thick. I used a plastic spoon to get the paint from the containers into the muffin tin.


First Madox and I talked a little about abstract art and what that meant, and we discussed the word random. In the past, he’s always planned out his drawings and paintings, so this was a new idea for him.

We decided to use three colors for the painting, and his choices were red, yellow, and blue. What an excellent choice! And what a perfect opportunity to talk about primary colors and what that term means.

Shake Those MarblesMadox “painted” with one marble at a time, and he made quite a little game of it. His first marble landed with a “plop” of paint in the center of the page, so with each of the next two, he attempted to roll the marbles through the center.

We talked about how the different primaries can be mixed together to create more colors. Since our poster paints were a bit thick, they weren’t mixing too well in the box, so when I’m able to purchase new paints, we’ll probably do this project again and deliberately allow colors to mix together.

Here is his finished work of art.

Marble painting (3)
Primary Colors – Abstract Painting by Madox Shanks

This photograph doesn’t do the painting justice. The actual colors are much brighter, of course. We’ll definitely do this project again once I’m able to purchase new paints. I’ll probably let Madox go “art shopping” with me — oh, that would be so much fun!

We had even more fun after this painting was finished. We were doing our art work in my studio, and earlier I’d worked on an oil painting. My palette was still sitting near the easel. Madox had never seen it before.

He was fascinated by the oil paint. “Want to give it a try?” I asked. I took a 4 x 6 canvas from the supply closet, let him pick a brush — he chose the biggest fan brush I have — and stood back to watch as he discovered oil paint for the first time.

The look on his face is priceless.

Madox with Oil
Madox discovers oil paints

The texture, of course, was totally new and different, but he had fun taking those primary colors he’d learned about and mixing them on the canvas. “How do I make green?” he asked. “What happens if I put red and blue together?”

All in all, it was an excellent learning experience for a curious, creative nine-year-old. He learned art terms, new vocabulary words, new concepts, and the basics of color theory. And he had a lot of fun doing it.

Thank you again, Kathy, for inspiring us to give this project a try!





    1. You’re right! It does resemble Batik. In future art times Madox and I will be exploring textiles, too. We might try doing Batik, and we’ll definitely try “tie-dye” colors. Doing art projects with the grandchildren is always fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. what a wonderful time this must have been with Madox, Judith! A real time of learning about abstract art, the word, random, and even about primary colors in the most fun and natural way! And then he was able to extend that learning in oils paint and mix the colors. He looks so happy and interested! Wonderful! You are such a great grandmother, and thanks for sharing how the project went!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The craft aisles at the stores here are really bare. Once we can get better paints, we’ll try it again. I’m planning to take Madox “art shopping” with me one day so he can see all the different things we can use to make art. And we’ll be doing many more projects.

      Liked by 1 person

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