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What Is a Medium?



What Is a Medium?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.25

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    craie, oleaginous, papyrus, rough-textured, walnut-sized, artistic, finding, waxy, multicolored, linseed, material, core, charcoal, graphite, turpentine, artists
     content words:    Speedy Gonzalez, Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Chinese, Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Ralph Waldo Emerson


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What Is a Medium?
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Two of the three little pigs had trouble finding the right material for their houses. Straw didn't work. Sticks didn't work. So both little pigs got eaten up. The third little pig had fun building his house out of bricks, and they kept him safe. Picking the right medium for an art project is as important as building a house out of the right material.
 
2     In the artistic world, a medium is what you use to create your art. Artists can pick from many different media. Each artist has his or her favorite medium. Your art cabinet may have watercolors, crayons, and pencils in it. You can try to pick the one that will be the best for your project. But the big bad wolf won't bother you even if your project doesn't work out.
 
3     If you want a speedy medium, pick watercolors. Watercolors are like the Speedy Gonzalez of paint. They are made from colored powder and water. Watercolors dry fast. The artist has to work quickly. Usually, the artist uses a soft hair brush on a rough-textured, white paper. The hard thing with this kind of paint is that it dries so fast you have to know just what you want to paint...right away.
 
4     Watercolors have been around for a long time. Ancient Egyptians used watercolor on papyrus. Ancient Chinese artists used watercolors on handmade rice paper. Indian artists painted the many Hindu gods and goddesses in bright watercolors. One god, named Krishna, was always painted with bright blue.
 
5     Today, many children enjoy watercolors because they are easy to use. Parents like them because they wash out quickly, but using water colors was not always so easy. In the 17th and 18th centuries, watercolors were made out of plants, herbs, and chemicals. Artists published their recipes in painting handbooks. It was a lot of work to mix the paints. They didn't store them in nice plastic containers. The paint was sold in walnut-sized pouches made out of pigs' bladders! Maybe that is what happened to the first two little pigs.

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