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Artist study is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling. I love studying the works of great artists and recreating art in their style. Most recently we did a Kandinsky artist study as a family.
Vassily Kandinsky was a Russian abstract artist. He was born in Moscow in 1866 and lived until 1944 living the last part of his life in France. He is credited for doing one of the first purely abstract works of art, meaning art that does not try to portray any actual real objects.
Something I love about Kandinsky is that so much of is art work has mathematical concepts as well! Integrating math and art is a favorite of mine. See my Math Art and Drawing Games for Kids book! This book has many more ideas for bringing math and art together.
Kandinsky loved music and color. He believed colors could express feelings the same way music could.
Color is a power that directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard. . . the artist is the hand that plays. –Vassily Kandinsky
One of Kandinsky’s most recognizable works of art is called the Squares with Concentric Circles. It was painted in 1914. I am sure you have probably seen it around! I have always loved this painting. It’s so bright and cheery and is such a fun one for kids to successfully recreate, so that’s what we did!
We have a wonderful art book called the Usborne Art Treasury that gave us this idea. We did Kandinsky’s painting in mixed medium using oil pastels and watercolors.
We started with a large piece of watercolor paper. It’s a much thicker paper and absorbs water better. We folded the paper in half lengthwise, then into thirds to make the sections for the squares.
Within each square you draw circles with the oil pastels in different colors. The circles do not need to be perfectly round. In fact, Kandinsky’s are not in his painting. That’s part of what I love about it. It is a project that kids really feel successful with because they can create it in their own way! Make each square a little different from each other.
Once you have completed all of the circles, you can paint over them with watercolors. This is a fun thing to do because the oil and water repel each other just as in any other circumstance. Kids really think this is neat to do! Use contrasting colors to paint over each square making it extra colorful!
Learn More About Kandinsky with These Books:
The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock
Wassily Kandinsky- The Life and Work by Paul Flux
Kandinsky and the Blue Rider by Annette Vezin
I am doing a study on Kandinsky with a pre-k class. I would love to explore his piece, Circle in a Circle, with this group as they are going to made their own piece on a canvas. Do you have any recommendations of children’s books to read along with artist?