This project centered on the artist Mondrian. One of my favorites! I just realized I was going to link to information about Mondrian, but I used my old art history books when I was talking about him to the girls. I just googled it and didn't find a satisfactory (to me) article. I guess Wikipedia was closest. Here is a quote from Mondrian about his work:
I construct lines and color combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things…
I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.Of course, I didn't really explain all that to the girls. I mostly explained that some artists paint images we recognize (like a picture of a person, animal or place) and others paint "designs". That was the best way I could describe abstract painting to them without getting too technical. And then I told them that Mondrian liked to use pure colors or colors that weren't mixed with anything else and asked them if they could think of any colors that sounded like that. Ella got it immediately and said the primary colors!
I showed them these two works by Mondrian:
Anyway, that was probably more indepth than I needed to get in this post. I was just so impressed with how the girls seemed to "get" some of these really abstract ideas when they were broken down simply.
For this project. I gave the girls a ruler and pencil and asked them to draw three vertical lines anywhere they wanted all the way down the page. And then three horizontal lines all the way across. Then, some smaller lines inside. Then color in what you feel like coloring in. I finished them off for them by drawing in the fatter and skinnier black lines with permanent marker and a ruler.
And here's their creations: