Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mondrian Study, Part 2

Our Mondrian study culminated with Mondrian imitations on canvas, now hanging in the art gallery. (Well, hanging in the playroom in the basement. There goes that creative license again.) I gave the kids white canvas boards and paint-- black, red, blue, yellow. The lovely ladies and fine young gents painted the black lines on the first day, let them dry overnight, then added color the next day.

Part 1 of our Mondrian study, in which we study Mondrian's paintings and create Edible Mondrian, here. We looked at Mondrian's paintings. We watched a movie (Artists of the Twentieth Century: Piet Mondrian) in which we learned that it's pronounced "MON-dree-uhn" instead of "MOAN-dree-ahn." So now we say his name properly. We made beautiful art and ate it. All leading up to the final project. The only instructions that I offered for these paintings were to paint vertical and horizontal lines with the black paint, to fill the spaces with color, and, for heaven's sake, put something on the table before you start painting!

Fine young gent, 6. You see him working on this painting in the photo above. He was as careful and serious about getting the lines just right, as right as he could make them anyway, as he was playful and active during our fall action painting project. He was very careful about his color placement, as well. It was clear that he had a vision. He knew he wanted some large and some small spaces, he wanted to use all of the colors, and that he needed to leave some of the spaces white. I love the vertical yellow strip down the middle of the painting. He had a very specific reason for it that I can't remember. If he wasn't sleeping I'd ask him, but decided that waking him just to ask a question for my blog would be unwise.

Lovely young lady, eleven."I don't like painting," she said. "I might get paint on my clothes," she said. "Do I have to?" she said. "Hmm," I said. "Wear this," I said. "Yes," I said. Sound familiar? It was nearly an exact repeat of our conversation about action painting. So I just used cut-and-paste. Easier that way. Maybe I'll just paste that conversation on every post that involves this lovely lady and art projects. This lovely lady added some diagonals for effect. Interestingly, her painting is symmetrical, and she filled all of the spaces even after looking at several Mondrian paintings and commenting on all of the white spaces. This lovely lady also cannot stop reading in the middle of a chapter, must finish playing or singing a song before moving on to something else, and must color every single bit of a picture before it's considered finished.

Lovely young artist, 13. She really enjoyed this project, and found it challenging. "I kept wanting to make curves in my lines," she said, "But I didn't because I knew that wasn't the project." She really struggled with the idea of imitation as a way of experiencing art in our Klimt collage project. (You can read a bit about her struggles in this post.) It was a bit of a process to help her understand that there was a method to my madness and that I did, indeed, have something valuable to teach her. So this time she created a Mondrian-style painting with straight lines even though she really wanted to make curves. I suspect that if I'd told her she could only make curved lines she'd really want to make straight. She is 13, after all. Her painting came out perfectly as she'd envisioned it. The picture doesn't do it justice. I've bought her another canvas board so that she can make a Mondrian-style painting with curves. I can't wait to see how it comes out.

Fine young gent, 4. His Mondrian-style painting looks a lot like his Pollock-style painting (Scroll down to the middle of the action painting post to compare the two.) What the heck, he's four. He had a grand time painting and it creates a nice chaotic contrast to the controlled lines and carefully separated colors of the other paintings. He says, "It looks like the night turning into the day." So it does.

"De Stijl" painting, a la Piet Mondrian

You need:

White canvas, canvas boards, or poster board. (One per child.)

A ruler or yardstick and a pencil

Black paint

Red, yellow, and blue paint

Newspaper or other table covering, paintbrushes, paint rags

Step one: Using a ruler or yardstick as a guide, lightly draw the lines onto the canvas with a pencil. The elder of the lovely ladies painstakingly outlined both sides of her black lines so that she could carefully paint straight edges. Fine young gent, 6, drew a single line so that he could see where he wanted to paint.

Step two: Paint the black lines onto your painting. Set the painting aside to dry.

Step three: Once the black paint has dried thoroughly, use the red, yellow, and blue paints to carefully fill in some of the spaces created by the black lines.

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