"White Sound" by Wassily Kandinsky
This watercolor & acrylic painting art lesson is inspired from a painting called “White Sound.” This lesson could be used with students 2nd through 5th grade.
Benchmark: Visual Arts K-3: 0.2.1.5.1
Art history, visual arts, and music
Concepts: Abstract painting with watercolors and acrylics
Vocabulary: Abstract art, primary and secondary colors, tints, watercolor wash, acrylics
- Digital image of Kandinsky’s White Sound
- Piano music: for example The Piano Guys
- 9” x 12” 90 lb. watercolor paper
- 9” x 12” white sulphite paper
- Liquid watercolors
- Acrylic paints
- Wax paper pallets
- Water cups
- Paint shirts
Anticipatory Set: New image for discussion and painting
Procedure: We begin class with a facilitated discussion about the painting: White Sound by Wassily Kandinsky. The Visual Thinking Strategies, VTS approach uses a series of questions that help children with observation and listening skills to learn more from one another about art.
Project the digital image of Kandinsky’s White Sound on the smart board or a projection screen. Allow the students a minute to look at the painting without comment. Then invite the children to share what they see in the painting. Some questions that would work well with this painting:
- What do you see in the painting?
- What colors are in the painting?
- Do you notice any shapes in the painting?
- What thoughts do you think the artist had as he painted this painting?
- The painting is called White Sound—does that give you any ideas about the painting?
- What is white sound? what does it sound like?
- What is abstract art?
The dictionary definition of Abstract:
of or pertaining to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors, generalized or geometrical forms, etc., especially with reference to their relationship to one another.
(often initial capital letter ) pertaining to the nonrepresentational art styles of the 20th century.
This VTS discussion is short—5-7 minutes to allow the children to get active with the making of art.
Demonstrate to the children using long even strokes for the watercolor wash. Children create a watercolor wash over a piece of 9” x 12” watercolor paper while listening to piano music. Then allow the papers to dry. If children finish quickly, have additional sulphite paper ready for painting.
Next week, add the acrylic paints.
Primary Colors and White
2nd week—Take a second look at the Kandinsky painting. Ask the children to share any details in the painting. What additional details do they see? Their answers may involve the color choices, the lines or patterns that they see. Each student will receive red, yellow, blue, and white paint on wax paper. They will get their watercolor paintings back to paint on with acrylic paints. Pass out a paint shirt for each student.
Acrylic paints mixed on palette
Demonstrate the double loading technique of taking a dab of one color of paint and with the same brush adding a second color to the brush to create tints and secondary colors. Refer to the color wheel to show a visual of color mixing. Then allow the children to explore and create an abstract painting. Allow them to create as piano music is playing.
Watercolor and Acrylic Painting
Painting with different types of music may inspire the children with different types of art. Enjoy the process.