Kandinsky for Kids – DIY Art

1st Grade Art – Inspired by Kandinsky

My daughter’s school will be holding it’s annual “Arts Night” later this year.  As part of the event, each class will create a painting to be auctioned off to raise money for the school’s arts program.  The 1st grade classes used the artwork of Kandinsky as their inspiration and created these wonderful “Squared Circles” paintings.  I was so thrilled with how the paintings turned out, I thought I would do a quick “how to” post with instructions to make your own.  This is a great project to do with an entire class or at home with your own family.

First, a little background on Kandinsky — the most interesting aspect of Kandinsky is that he experienced a neurological condition called “synesthesia” whereby colors evoked sounds and sounds evoked colors.  Perhaps because of this condition, music played an important role in his life and greatly influenced his works.   In order to help the kids understand this concept, we played music (Brand New Heavies) while they worked on their project.

Materials Needed:

  • Stretched canvas
  • Acrylic paints (we divided the classes up by warm colors/cool colors/mixed colors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Different size cups/glasses

To begin, determine how many square you will need in your painting.  We found that the following ratios worked best: 3 rows by 4 columns;  4 rows by 5 columns; 4 rows by 6 columns.  Using your ruler and pencil divide the painting up into a grid.  Using the different size cups/glasses, trace 3 concentric circles inside each block. Let 2-3 kids work on the painting at a time.  Give each child a palette with 4 colors.  Beginning with the center circle, have them fill in the circles with the paint, ending with the outside square.  It is not necessary to tape off the squares because you do not want crisp edges.  The paintings will look best when the edges are slightly blurred.

Tips for using acrylic paints with kids:

  • Be sure to put smocks on the kids and a drop cloth or newspaper under your work space
  • Wash the paint off the brush between colors by swishing the brush in a cup of water and then wiping dry with a paper towel.  Refill with clean water, as needed. This will keep the colors from getting muddy looking
  • Although acrylic paint is permanent, if you get paint on clothing, wash with soap and water immediately.  There is still a small chance you can get it off if it hasn’t begun to dry

Totally off the topic note – if you watch the show Weeds, remember when Doug said he saw numbers in colors.  It sounds like synesthesia to me!

1st Grade Artwork – Cool Colors

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