At the beginning of class, I held up images of Kandinsky's paintings. One of my students declared, "That's not art stuff!"
Exactly the kind of reaction Wassily Kandinsky received when he exhibited his work in the 1900's. Can you imagine?! At the time art was all about making things look real!
I went on to explain... Instead of a making a realistic picture, Kandinsky wanted to express emotions using lines and color. He was very inspired by music. He was one of the first artists to paint abstract pictures. He was also involved the development of Expressionism.
While listening to Mozart's Serenade No. 13 in G Major 'A Little Night Music', Allegro, my painting class of 1st and 3rd graders expressed themselves in much the same way. Using lines, shapes and color, they expressed what they heard and felt in the music.
By the end of class, that same young artist was enthusiastically giving titles to this different way of doing art - "Color Sound" & "Color Power".
I am captivated by the results!
"I applied streaks and blobs of color onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...”
If you are interested in the steps in the lesson after introducing Kandinsky:
I also taught this lesson with the 3rd graders at my sons' school. This time, we listened to David Brubeck's Blue Rondo A La Turk. (There is a significant tempo change about 2 minutes in.) I don't have the photos or the permission to post those - I wish I did!
I am not an abstract painter, but in my contemporary floral paintings, I definitely use color and shape to express and evoke emotion.