Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011: Art Project 3--Kandinsky Color Studies

Today, we focused on the artist Wassily Kandinsky. One of my favorites when it comes to more modern and abstract art. Though sometimes abstract art seems more simplistic, there was much theory behind Kandinsky's art. He used music as inspiration. He named his more quick and spontaneous works "Improvisations" and his more thoughtful and thorough works were "Compositions".

He often used primary colors and complimentary colors. He also used mathematical themes in his works.

Here are a few of his paintings:
Improvisation No. 31, Sea Battle, 1913
Composition VII, 1913
Composition VIII, 1923

Kandinsky's Color Studies:

For this project, I was inspired by The Art Fairy's post about warm and cool color exploration. And also, this color study post on the Quest Artists blog.

I gave the girls a choice between making circles or diagonal lines. Lily chose circles and Ella chose diagonals. We were supposed to do a warm/cool color exploration last year with our hand drawings, but the kids weren't so into that project. So for this project I really wanted to try and stick to them understanding the color wheel and making thoughtful choices about what colors they put where. I drew this crude color wheel and reminded the girls what complimentary colors were and we also talked about warm and cool colors.
(Hee hee...like my horrible version of a fire and raindrops/snowflakes so my preschooler would know which side was warm and which was cold?) :-)
For Lily's circle project:
I asked her to pick one color for the middle of a circle. Then, she could pick any other color she wanted to color the next ring of the circle. For the third ring, she had to mix the first two colors together. The fourth ring consisted of an "opposite" temperature color. So if she had used warm in the middle of the circle, she had to use cool on the outside and vice versa. Then for the background color, I asked her to use the same temperature but a different color as the fourth ring. She used watercolor pencils for the rings and then either markers or slick stix for the background color to make it pop more.

Here is her creation, first with just the colored pencil, and then with the water added:

For Ella's diagonal project:
She got to practice her ruler skills making diagonal lines that ended up matching up on the ends in four different quadrants. For coloring in: I told her we were NOT going to make a pattern with the colors, but a pattern with the temperature of the colors. In each quadrant, she had to alternate using warm and cool colors. And I asked her to really try and use a lot of different colors and not use the same color in the quadrant across from each other. Usually, Ella is not too receptive to taking direction from me, but I told her this was what the project was today and she ran with it! And actually asked my advice sometimes on which color to do next. I LOVE how this turned out and I loved watching her make this work of art. She thought so hard about her color choices and took her time. So fun to see!

In the spirit of Kandinsky, we listened to music while we worked on this project. :-)
Ella's finished product in colored pencil and then after water was added:


  1. These are very cool. Kadinsky's work is amazing. I love the idea of painting to music.

  2. fantastic! love the idea of studying an artist per week in the summer! thanks for the post!

  3. Kandinsky's my favorite!! Great circles - we love to make ours by tracing cups, lids, and coins with sharpies then watercolor them!

    : )
    pink and green mama,

  4. Thanks for your comment Holly! I love how you incorporated temperature into the project!