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A Perfect Picture

To celebrate how painting and colour can express human moods and values

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To celebrate how painting and colour can express human moods and values.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need some art materials: paper, paints, brushes, etc.
  • Invite members of a Foundation/KS1 Class to bring some of their paintings to the assembly. If KS2 children are studying the work of a particular artist, this assembly could provide an opportunity for them to present some of their work.
  • Alternatively, a copy or poster of one your favourite pictures could be used.
  • Learn the song 'I'm going to paint a perfect picture'.


  1. Place the art materials on a table to act as a point of focus. Explain that there are different kinds of paint, e.g. watercolour, oils, acrylic. Watercolours are used on paper, oils require a stiff canvas. Colours can be mixed on a paint tray or palette. Does anyone know how to make the colour … (run through various colours)? There are large and small brushes, some hard and others soft, some thick and others fine, each used at different times for different parts of the painting.

  2. Suggest that such bright and varied materials might make anyone wish to paint a picture. Say, 'I'd like to paint a picture,' but then ask, 'What shall I paint?' Invite suggestions from the children. What would they paint?

  3. Introduce KS1 paintings, or KS2 work, if it is available. Discuss the use of colour and choices of subject, the mood that a painting can evoke.

    Or display your chosen painting and explain why it is a favourite.

  4. Reflect that painting has always been important to human beings. Thousands of years ago, when people lived in caves, they painted pictures on the walls of the caves showing the animals that they hunted (cave art). Beautiful painting has been found decorating Egyptian tombs. For many centuries in Europe artists were employed by the Church, and they painted religious subjects, but as time has passed a greater variety of styles and subjects has developed. Paintings of people are called 'portraits' and those of the countryside are 'landscapes'. Some paintings reflect experiences of war and suffering (images we often see on television today). Others show scenes of beauty and happiness.

  5. Invite the children to consider what kind of world they would like to paint, and introduce the song 'I'm going to paint a perfect picture'.

Time for reflection

'I had a paintbox' (No. 222 in A Word in Season, published by NCEC) captures the theme perfectly.

Or invite the children to close their eyes to imagine their perfect picture.

Lord God of shape and colour,
We celebrate your bright and vibrant world.
Blend our lives together
so that we can add to its beauty
and live together in harmony,
today and every day.


'I'm going to paint a perfect picture' (Come and Praise, 83)

Publication date: 2003   (Vol.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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