Art Journaling with Kids:Kandinsky

 I am delighted to share my love of art with my children as we make artistic exploration a priority in our homeschool.  Please join me each Friday as I post the latest addition to our art journals.  I share easy ideas to incorporate art into your family culture.  You don’t need to be a homeschooling family to spend time making art together!

This week we learned about Vasily Kandinsky, the Russian abstract artist. First we read a delightful book called The Noisy Paint Box.  I love the way picture books gently introduce a topic, so we use them often.  This book has gorgeous illustrations and shares Kandinsky’s story in a relatable way.  It describes so well the reaction of the general public and Kandinsky’s instructors to his artwork:

“Is it a house?” “Is it a flower?” “What’s it supposed to BE?”, his teachers asked.

We briefly (like 1-2 minutes) discussed the book and the difference in the art Kandinsky was trying to create.  He wanted his paintings to make you feel something, not just be a reproduction of something he saw. And then we got to work.

 I turned on some music and set out the paint and paintbrushes. We used a small, and probably very old, set of acrylic polymer paints that my husband picked up for me secondhand from our local university.  (If you have a university close by you should find out if they have a surplus sale.  We’ve purchased a number of very cheap and high quality art supplies there).

We painted how the music made us feel.  While my kids are creating I try to offer very little help or commentary on their work.  This is not a time for critique.  We did talk about our artwork a little bit as we made it, mostly just pointing out what we liked about the paintings.  

I also try to ask the kids questions about the book we read, sort of an informal narration, so I can make sure they understood and absorbed a little bit of what we read.  This is not a quiz or a test, by any means.  Just a little bit of guided conversation centered around what we read.

All in all this took us about 30 minutes, and if the baby had kept sleeping we’d probably have continued painting for a while.  But paint plus a very destructive 16 month old do not mix.

Does your family make art together?  What have you created lately?