Rebecca Sonniksen (Grandma Riva) 

You might think one red is like any other red or there is only one color orange, like the crayon; but as our granddaughters, Izzy (age 9) and Sof (age 7) learned, it depends on how you look at it. 

Like many of you, the thing we miss most during this challenging time is being with family, which includes our granddaughters. They live in Portland; so while we’ve connected virtually, the spontaneity of a real visit has been missing. 

Thanks to good weather and social distancing, a visit here was finally possible. It had been awhile so we wanted to do something new and fun, and picking up pine cones this time probably wasn’t it. 

Since being here is about seeing new things, Scott (Grandpa Scotty) came up with a “seeing” color activity. All it required was an inexpensive digital camera and a color chart of primary colors: red, yellow, and blue and secondary colors: green, orange and purple. 

The assignment was to photograph something in nature and something man-made in each of the six colors. Using a camera helps frame the color by taking it out of context and making it the object of the photograph. 

According to Grandpa Scotty, the point of the activity is to see the nuances and shades of color and how they mix to make other colors, like blue and yellow to make green. It also introduces the different qualities of light and how natural or artificial lighting effects color perception. 

“They would call me over to ask what kind of green they were looking at, so we pulled out the color chart and discussed if the green was leaning more towards the yellow or the blue,” explains Scott (Grandpa Scotty). 

For the color blue the girls found in nature a blue flower and for man-made a blue bucket. Both were blue, but with the help of the color chart they found the flower color leaned more towards a violet- blue because it had a touch of red. The girls also discovered that colors look more or less intense depending on what other color is nearby. 

This was an exercise in seeing what’s really there, not simply what you expect to see; and it made abstract theories of color a hands-on, fun and understandable exercise. It made for a fun afternoon and gave us a follow-up for the next visit. With their printed photos they can mount the color comparisons side by side or create a collage, or do something totally unexpected and delightful. 

Like so many activities, it turns out they have as much to teach us as we them. Seeing through a child’s eyes is a lovely reminder of how much there is to see if you take the time. 

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(L): Sonniksens’ granddaughters – Izzy(l) and Sof(r), (R): Sof taking pic of blue flowers  

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