Painting 101 – Getting Started with Mixing

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by SAAAC No Comments

Welcome to our very first art lesson blog. These lessons are adapted and modified to accommodate individuals on the autism spectrum. Also, these lessons are made possible through generous donations and support of  SAAAC Creative arts programming.

art supplies description


Step #1: Sit Down

Focus and preparation is very important.  If the artist is sitting and calm then they are ready to paint. If you are having trouble getting your student to sit at the table, check out our previous article and get some helpful tips.

child sitting down on chair

Step #2: Show Me Ready Hands

Hands ready is a technique that we use if the artist is tempted to get started too early. Get the artist to fold their arms and wait until the lesson begins. This posture helps demonstrate that the artist is ready and willing to listen.

child sitting with arms folded

Step #3: Say the Colour

Using colour cards get the artist to identify the colour that they will be working on. If mixing is required, have the artist identify which colours need to be mixed together.

child looking at various colours on a card

Step #4: Ask for Paint

Asking for paints is an important step. It is recommended that paints are kept in a separate area, this will be a good motivator to get the artist to practice their communication skills. If artist is non-verbal, ask them to point to a colour they want with the aid of a colour spectrum card.

child deciding which paint to choose

Step #5: Mix Paints

Place small amounts of each required colour on the palate and let the artist freely mix the colours. Watching colours mix can be very soothing and visually interesting.

Child mixing paint

Step #6: Slowly Paint

Make sure the artist has control of the brush and tell them to paint slowly. Slow them down if they start to go too fast. Allow them to completely cover the entire colour card.

Child slowly painting

Step #7: Put Brush Back in Water

Put the brush back in water to prevent it from drying and getting damaged. This will also allows the artist to communicate that they are done and ready for the next step.

Child putting brush in water

Step #8: High Five

Sit down and give a high five! A reward or a form of positive reinforcement can be a very useful tool to keep the artist engaged and active. Sometimes a simple high five can go a long way.

child gives high five to volunteer

Repeat these steps with various colour cards for as long as the artist is engaged and focused. It is not recommended to ‘force’ or ‘push’ artistic activities when the artist is not in the mood or is not able to focus. Ultimately, the goal is to have the artist complete these steps with fewer and fewer prompts, and hopefully to the point where they can do it independently.

Our arts program would not be possible without two major partners:

Erickumar Emmanuel of Mortgage Alliance R & R Mortgages is our lead program sponsor for SAAAC Creative. Mr. Emmanuel has a decade of experience as a mortgage agent and has a long history of giving back to the community. His year long commitment to developing SAAAC creative is truly inspiring and we thank him for his generosity.


Our program also received an incredible boost from our second program sponsor, University of Ottawa Tamil Students’ Union. This great student group was able to raise $1,000 for SAAAC creative. We thank them for their incredible effort and for helping our arts program become a reality. Due to their efforts, SAAAC will have a structured and quality arts program year round.