Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Paint and Read: Kadinsky

Summertime can be a perfect time for forays into art appreciation and painting.  So sit back and be inspired by a simple, but fun, paint and read together time you and your children might enjoy!

Painting Time...

In the kids second painting class, they learned a bit about Wassily Kadinky, an abstract artist from Russia who is best known for his expressionism, or painting with color that brought about a mood or emotion.

Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913 (Image Source: Wikipedia)

With inspiration from Kadinsky's Squares with Concentric Circles, Luke and Nina thought of an emotion and then tried their own hand at painting in the style of expressionism.

Nina chose to do happiness.

Luke chose to do mixed emotions.

Both enjoyed creating concentric circles within squares, and I appreciated seeing how each child in their class created unique paintings based on their own palette choices and emotions!

Reading Time...

 After painting in Kadinsky's style, of course, it was time to dive deeper into who Kadinsky was and how he painted.  Thus, I selected four books to read together at home.

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The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art was Nina's favorite because of the way it was written, its illustrations and the way it describes how Kadinsky experienced music as colors.    I, too, loved this historical fiction book based on Kadinsky's life.  

The Noisy Paint Box, is a true "living book", which is as fun to read aloud as it is to pour over for its exuberant acrylic paint and paper collage illustrations!  Replete with rich and poetic language, evocative illustrations, an author's note that is not to be missed, and reproductions of the Kadinsky works that inspired some of its illustrations, The Noisy Paint Box is a true feast for eyes, ears, mind and soul. You cannot leave it behind without being impressed by how Kadinsky heard sounds as colors and experienced colors as sounds.  Nor can you close the book without recognizing what a celebration of creativity it is!

The Life and Work Of... Wassily Kadinsky was Luke's favorite.  He liked it because it was "a better biography and more scientific" than The Noisy Paint Box, he said. 

I, personally, would not use "scientific" as a description of
The Life and Work Of... Wassily Kadinsky.  Rather, I'd say the book was a straightforward, yet enjoyable children's biography that included:
  • 11 reproductions of Kadinsky's work, showing the different periods and styles of Kadinsky's art

  • a brief, but clear history of Kadinsky's life and art

  • illustrations and photographs to bring the history of Kadinsky's life and times to life 

and more.

The book was brief enough to read aloud, yet interesting enough for the children to page through and "study" on their own.  With cleat text and illustrations, photogpraphs or reproductions on every page, it engaged and delighted my children.

Image Source: WikiArt

Sky Blue (An Art Play Book) was Jack's favorite since it was an interactive book with peek-a-boo pictures, lift the flaps and more. In fact, we all had fun moving the pages around to see Kadinsky's Sky Blue in different ways.  I also appreciated the book's rich vocabulary, many allusions and poetic language.  Together with the illustrations, the text unleashes imagination.  However, I would be remiss if I did not mentioned that, at times, I wondered if the book was created in the 70's as opposed to its copyright date of 1988, if you know what I mean.  (Yes, it was a bit "trippy" in some ways!) 

We also read the Kadinsky section of The Usborne Book of Famous Artists.  In just two pages, we learned about Kadinsky's life, times and work.  We also enjoyed a creatively drawn timeline of his life and an image of the vivid, pure painting palette Kadinsky used!  

Undoubtedly, since The Usborne Book of Famous Artists contains over 30 more artist spotlights, we'll continue to keep it on hand.  It's a wonderful, engaging introduction to masters of art!

What fun we've had with our relaxed read alouds learning about famous painters and their works.  If you didn't catch it before, enjoy checking out our Picasso study and stay tuned for Matisse, Monet and Van Gogh to come!

We'd love to hear your favorite projects and resources for relaxed exploration about famous artists!  Please share in a comment here or on the Training Happy Hearts Facebook page.


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