Musings about the importance and impact of art and art education in the 21st century.

Musings about the importance of art and art education

Second Grade Mondrian Inspired Compositions

♠ Posted by ArtMuse in at 4:13 PM

Piet Mondrian was a Dutch artist who began his career committed to representational art which included landscapes native to his home.  As his art progressed, it became more and more abstract, the style that Mondrian later coined as Neo-Plasticism.  Now my student teacher and I didn't talk about neo-plasticism with our second graders, but we did discuss the way that Mondrian created abstract art based on lines, shapes, and colors as a way to help him organize the disorganization he may have felt in his life at the time. The cut and then re-assembled pieces represent the way that art can help us make sense of our lives and bring us a sense of peace, harmony, and organization. The most amazing thing about the project was that many students really understood that concept and were prompted to discuss events or circumstances in their life that made them feel overwhelmed or sad and then share why or how creating art has helped, or could help them in the future, to deal with those feelings.

Here's how the lesson broke down:
Day 1- My student teacher showed the class a PowerPoint on the life and work of Mondrian with a few slides showing how his work progressed from representation to abstract.  The class examined the painting "The Style" and analyzed its lines, shapes, and colors.  The students then used 2 foot rulers (with a guided demonstration first) to draw 3 vertical and 3 horizontal lines on a piece of 12x18" watercolor paper.
  Day 2-3 We demonstrated how to paint each box neatly using watercolor paints with the criteria being that the students could choose any colors they want as a long as they had 2 white and 2 black shapes.
 Day 4- To begin the lesson we demonstrated how to use a wide flat paintbrush and black tempera paint to outline each shape.  My student teacher introduced a great technique that I had never heard of called "stopping points" for painting.  Stopping points are basically points at which you stop when painting straight lines to check your work. This concept worked really well because instead of the students thinking they had to try and long lines from end to end in one single swipe, they were encouraged to stop after short strokes which really helped them to create straight, even lines.

 Day 5-On the last day of the lesson the students were shown how to cut their artwork up into 5 pieces, three pieces vertically, creating a straight, curvy, and zig-zag cut, and then 2 more cuts horizontally.  The artwork was then re-assembled and glued down to add interesting negative shapes.