Artist & Writer, San Francisco Bay Area

“Swinging” by Wassily Kandinsky

So yesterday we had another wonderful time in the studio- me & The Kids.

We time travelled at lightening speed from last week’s Lascaux Caves to the turn of the 20th Century and Wassily Kandinsky. I am loving how I get to immerse myself into an artist or artform each week (OK this is only the second week) but I see it having a long future, this class of mine. (Don’t even get me started on how I am dreaming of more classes I could teach… one step at a time.)

So here’s the summary and then I will jot a few things down.


Art History: We discussed Wassily (pronounced: vassi-lee) Kandinsky’s painting titled “Swinging.” He was one of the founders of “pure” abstract art. This was a change from hundreds of years of Western Art that focused on reproducing reality. By the early 1900’s, artists felt a need to explore new ways of doing art in the same way that science & technology were changing the world (Industrial Revolution.) Kandinsky was influenced by the power of the color & shapes of Monet’s haystacks.

Vocabulary: Abstract Art, Inspiration

Art Learning Methods: Treating own art kindly, Being Careful & Thoughtful

Art Techniques:  watercolor methods (pencil, wet on wet, blending)

The two stories that I told about Kandinsky were about how 1.) he travelled to northern Russia at one point, and he walked into brightly painted homes that were very colorful on the inside also, and how he felt like he was walking into a painting and 2.) how, upon viewing Monet’s haystacks, he was initially put off, but then later couldn’t stop thinking about the colors. Hence, the experience of the colors made a huge impression on him and directly influenced his choices to work in solely colors and shapes much of the time. Yes, I use wikipedia in case you were wondering. 🙂 I couldn’t make it to the library this week! Can’t find one of my library books that are due! 🙁

My favorite moments in the class:

1. Telling them that they had to work to not wiggle & wrestle around too much because if they did, the ideas I was just giving them would fall right out of their noggins. (we all got a kick out of that.)

2. Working with their energy & embracing it instead of getting thrown off my game. I let their excitement get channeled into their work!

3. Seeing them get exited about new art materials. They loved the watercolor pencils. Seeing them appreciate their own work and the discoveries they made. 

4. Seeing them all choose different colors & having such completely different pieces at the end, even though I gave them pretty specific directions as we created the paintings.

5. Their titles! Left to right from above pic: Blendy U.S.A, Valentinius, Heart Love, and The Great Storm. 


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