Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mondrian Mixed Media

I have tried to do Mondrian with my littles before, but so far it has always turned out looking very blah.  This year I was determined to get better results with the kiddos, and so I went with my old philosophy of "keep adding stuff until you like it."

So First Graders are still working on motor skills somewhat.  The objectives for this were to make horizontal and vertical lines with a ruler, to be able to talk about Mondrian, to make artwork using geometric shapes, and to name the primary colors.

First I had the kiddos look at my Mondrian slides, briefly.  He's an artist I really like, but I tend to not elaborate very much about his history.  Simple is simple, right? 

Then I talked them through how to make real horizontal and vertical lines on their 12 x 18 paper.  I had them think about Balance and making some spaces open, while others were more filled in with smaller shapes.  I took a lot of time showing them how to hold the ruler still and draw with their other hand.

Then, that same class period, I had them paint in some of the boxes on their paper.  I again emphasised Balance, and suggested they pick three boxes to make red, three blue, and three yellow, making sure they were spaced out all over.  Some of them still didn't really do that, but it was fixable with the next step.

The following class period, I pulled up "Broadway Boogie Woogie" and we looked at it more closely.  I had the first graders go over all their pencil lines with Sharpie.  Then, I had them use glue sticks to add smaller construction paper squares and rectangles onto their paper.  I told them how they could stack the shapes, put them in empty boxes, or glue them right on top of the places they painted before.  I also had long strips of black paper in the box that they could use to emphasise some of their black lines.  As they glued things on, they had to keep everything horizontal and vertical.  No diagonal placement was allowed!

So we broke some of Mondrian's rules a little, but I am much more pleased with the results this time around:

Having the whole group working in Primary colors made me think how great these would look all hanging together in the hallway.  That is, if I EVER had time to hang all that stuff up!  I have over 800 students...but that's another story!


  1. I like the combination. I tried a lesson I call "Messy Mondrians" this year but haven't posted it yet. Maybe I'll do that now!

    And I feel you on trying to find time to hang student artwork... I only switch it out like twice a 9 weeks. Maybe. I have around 750-775 students. The numbers change so much it's hard to keep track of the total.

    1. I have about that many kids now, too. What I really need is a parent volunteer to handle all that for me. *sigh* Dreamin' the dream. :)

  2. Love the results! I also like the idea of adding until you like it (I'm a Performing Arts specialist teacher who once a week teaches visual art with grade 3/4s. They loved having a go at Mondrian last term and after having a go with basic Mondrian elements, they experimented with Broadway Boogie Woogie..but the most rewarding personally, was to see them apply their skills and understanding to create an aspect of the Easter story using Mondrian elements.....the results were magnificent and featured in the Mass celebrations. (see results on work colleague's Blog scroll down to Modern Holy Week Art http://erutherford.global2.vic.edu.au/) and link to my Blog is also on this page. Congrats on creating wonderful art and artists! Marg Weston Eltham Victoria Australia

    1. Hey! I am a Visual Arts specialist with an added endorsement in theatre! Do you ever integrate theatre activities into visual arts?