EXPLORE ART: Mini Wassily Kandinsky Lesson

Wassily Kandinsky is a largely recognizable artist, many have seen his artwork- repeated circles in squares reproduced in many doctor offices and ideas for this project are all over the web.  Here's a little mini lesson, with a little background about Kandinsky with some fun facts for working with children.  He was a truly influential artist if you can take the time to read more about him, his theories and his influence on modern art. 

Kandinsky is quoted for saying Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.

Kandinsky is known for his associations of art/color with music.  He saw the opportunities that art had to make the impressions music can have on a person. Kandinsky was fascinated with the emotional powers of music and how they can be interpreted and transformed by one's imagination and emotional response. 

Kandinsky was one of the founders of the art movement the Blue Rider, which focused on revealing the properties of line, color and composition.  It also had ties and influences with cubism, fauvism, primitive and medieval art. 

Kandinsky related spontaneous paintings to "Improvisations" as titled the piece above and more concentrated works "Compositions".  Take a look at his abstract art work and open up discussion with your child.

What type of colors does Kandinsky use in his art work?  How does he use line?  What do you think of his composition and how he uses lines, colors, shapes throughout his art work?
And then get into some fun questions: What type of music does this work remind you of?  Is it real fast, loud music, maybe soft and slow?  Ask your child what type of music do they like and how do they think they could paint it?

If you have the opportunity turn on some music and let your children paint what they feel, hear in the music.  This would be a fun "Improvisational"  Kandinksy piece.  Cyrus and I worked on more of a "Composition" Kandinsky project last weekend.  I showed him several examples of his work and we reproduced his version of the circles in squares artwork.  

Cy used paper, crayons and watercolors.  I folded the paper in half width wise and then into equal quarters, to have eight squares.  I demonstrated how to draw different color consecutive circles in each square.

Talk about the different types of colors you can use in this project and the type Kandinsky used.  Kandinsky developed many theories about colors, their energies and spirituality in art.  While you don't have to get too deep in philosophical discussion with your child talk about the calming nature of the circles they are making.  Children like the recognizable shape, as it's something they are comfortable with they get to repeat it throughout this project gaining more familiarity with it.

Once they have drawn their desired amount of consecutive circles in each square with the crayons get out the watercolors.  They can paint their choice of colors over the colored circles.  This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about how colors relate and for them to experiment with how different colors look next to each other. 

Music and art are two great avenues for children to learn, explore and express themselves.  While I can't play a note or even hum in tune I'm  glad my husband is a "music freak" as he likes to say and presents the opportunities for both kids to be exposed to different types and kinds of music.  I know art isn't everyone's thing but like music you don't have to be able to create a masterpiece yourself to appreciate it.  

 Cy's developing his own appreciation for each, Saturday by his request he was listening to Sean's dub Pandora station and making sticker art pictures on the living room floor.  Pretty neat, unique 4 1/2 year old and I'm glad I can say he's mine! 

We're finally getting back into the swing of things for 2012, I've updated the EXPLORE ART page  with direct links to our last projects. We're even up to two baby/toddler art projects with Sage!  I'm excited to share another with you next week, a big first for Sage my 18 month old. 

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