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Lesson 3: Two Color Mixing (Yellow and Red)


Line and Mark Exploration

In this lesson, you will make a new color by mixing two colors. What color did we make when we mixed yellow and blue? What color do you think we will make with yellow and red? 

Grade Level

Pre-K & K


Oil Pastel



  • Unit & Lessons

Materials and Tools

  • Set of oil pastels 
  • 9 x 12” paper 
  • Paper towel


Step by Step:  

  1. Open your oil pastels. 
  1. Take out the yellow and red oil pastels. Red is another primary color! Do you remember the others? 
  1. Make a patch of color using red. 
  1. Next, make a new patch of red. This time press as softly as you can, with your oil pastel barely touching the paper. How does it look?
  2. Now let’s try a patch of red pressing down hard with the oil pastel. How is this red different from the first one? 
  1. Let’s try a patch of yellow.  
  1. Make a red patch next to it. What do you think will happen when they get close to each other and meet?!  
  1. Red is a stronger color than yellow, so try blending with your finger to get them to mix.  Try adding just a little bit of red to the yellow to mix. 
  1. Try mixing by pressing as lightly as you can with the yellow, then lightly add red. 
  1. Try mixing by pressing hard with the yellow, then add red, pressing hard. Try not to add too much red! 
  1. Try to make as many different kinds of orange as you can! Make dark orange! Make light orange! 
  1. When you are done, the yellow might have lots of red on it. How can we clean it? Wipe off the tip with a paper towel.  

TIP: If the oil pastels break or start to run out, you can still use them. Peel back a little bit of the paper if you need to.

Prompts for Independent Art Making: 

Let’s go on an orange hunt in your classroom or your home! Look outside the window and see if you can find any orange. Maybe you can have a look outside your window during the evening when the sun sets in the sky! 

Next time you leave your school or your home, look for things that are orange.  
What kinds of things are orange? What is your favorite thing that is orange? 

Let’s make a drawing using the new colors we know how to make—green and orange! How does the color orange make you feel? Is the feeling the same or different from the green colors? 

Artists for Inspiration: 
Ronnie Landfield: https://whitney.org/collection/works/2909 
Josef Albers: https://whitney.org/collection/works/4080 and https://whitney.org/collection/works/25643 

What colors do you see in the first painting by Ronnie Landfield? How do you think this artist mixed these colors? What do the colors feel like? Do they seem warm or cold? Happy or peaceful?  
What colors do you see in the Josef Albers paintings? Can you guess how the artist might have made each of these colors? How do the colors in paintings make you feel? 

Reflection Questions

  • What happened when you mixed yellow and red?  
  • How did you make light orange? How did you make dark orange? 
  • Can you imagine/remember what you have seen inside or outside that looks like these different oranges? (food, toys, sun, sunset) 
  • Can you come up with names for these different oranges? 


Oil pastel 
Primary colors—red, yellow, blue 
Mixed colors—green, orange


Ronnie Landfield

Josef Albers:
https://whitney.org/collection/works/4080 https://whitney.org/collection/works/25643

The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater