Lesson plan

Kandinsky Shapes

Your students will have a blast thinking about polygons and making these paintings inspired by Wassily Kandinsky!
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Students will:

  • Draw repeated concentric polygons to create visual balance.
  • Use warm or colors expressively.

This art lesson corresponds to California Visual and Performing Arts Standards: 2.4 Create a painting or drawing, using warm or cool colors expressively. 2.5 Use bilateral or radial symmetry to create visual balance.

(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that today we will make an art project inspired by Wassily Kandinsky.
  • Show students "colour Study. Squares with Concentric Circles" on document camera.
  • With "colour Study. Squares with Concentric Circles" still projected, ask students what shapes they see in the painting.
  • Tell students that while Kandinsky used circles in his painting, we will be using polygons today. Ask the students if they know what a polygon is. Remind students that a polygon is a plane shape with at least three straight sides and angles. Have the class brainstorm different polygons, writing them on the board.
(10 minutes)
  • Place your paper under document camera.
  • Tell students that your example shape will be a triangle, but they can use any polygon they wish, as long as they repeat the same shape within their work.
  • With a pencil, draw a large triangle within each of your squares. Each large triangle should take up most of each square. Then draw concentric triangles within each of the large triangles until you have 3-4 concentric triangles within each of your paper's squares.
  • Begin applying paint to one square to show students the painting technique. Tell students they will need to skip sections, allowing paint to dry in between to prevent colour run.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out watercolor paper. Ask students to write their names on the back or bottom corner of the page.
  • Place your second sheet of paper under the document camera. Ask students for suggestions of a second polygon to draw.
  • As you draw your second set of polygons on the second paper, instruct students to begin drawing their polygons. Remind them that their polygons can be different than yours, and that they will not be drawing circles.
(20 minutes)
  • Place "colour Study. Squares with Concentric Circles" by Wassily Kandinsky back on the document camera for students to refer to.
  • When students have finished their drawings, instruct them to begin painting.
  • Walk around the room observing student progress.

Support:Allow students who are struggling with the drawing to trace a square or triangular object to get started.

Enrichment:Encourage a second polygon with more sides, if materials allow.

This lesson can be completed without the use of technology; however, technology such as a document camera can be useful in showing Kandinsky's artwork and demonstrating the drawing and painting technique.

(5 minutes)
  • Review student work as you walk around the room: Did students use concentric polygons?
  • Did students create visual balance with repeated shapes and colour?
(10 minutes)
  • Gallery Walk: Ask students to place their work on their desks and stand up. Instruct students to walk in one direction, slowly, around the room. Instruct students not to talk during this time.
  • Come back together as a class. Ask students for interesting details, shapes, and colour choices they saw on the gallery walk.

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