Friday, September 18, 2015

Kandinsky in Kindergarten!

Art in Kindergarten includes observation, exploration and studio time.  Ks observe various works of art by a particular artist, experiment with their style and medium, and celebrate  their lives and accomplishments.  We observe use of scale, shape, balance, and color as well as other elements and principles of design. We discuss how the piece of artwork makes us feel and even predict how the artist might have been feeling while creating it.

We explore the history of known (and sometimes lesser known) artists-their passions, backgrounds, influences and their contemporaries.  We suppose how these factors impact their art.

Studio sessions are ideally a time of self expression, experimentation and risk taking.  The Kindergartners observe techniques i.e. (Seurat's stippling, Calder's kinetics or Pollock's splatter painting) and are sometimes inspired to create using similar hues, materials or subject matter.  Documentation is taken on some occasions to thoughtfully reflect on  finished work and/or the process.
One goal as an art teacher is to never hear, 'I can't do art... I'm not good at art..." nor should that be a part of a Kindergartners' vocabulary.

  • laying  a foundation for an appreciation of the visual arts 
  • demonstrating how 'art" is intertwined with all other subject areas we are learning
  • cultivating a venue for self expression
  • gaining a healthy respect for the efforts of others.

The first artist we are studying this year is Russian born Wassily Kandinsky.  This pioneer of Abstract Expressionism is considered to be one of the first to use nonrepresentational or abstract figures in his paintings.  Kandinsky was inspired by a viewing of "Haystacks" by Post Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh.

It is also said that  Kandinsky had a special gift of experiencing  'colors as sounds and sounds as  colors.'  This ability (although unidentified during Kandinsky's lifetime) is now known as "synesthesia."

Our first studio session involved observing the piece titled,  Color Study:  Squares with Concentric Circles (1913).   The children shared comments about the amount and shapes used in the piece and made predictions of the subject matter.   One insightful observer, Oliver,  stated that, "That one with the white (pointing to one of the squares) looks like how water travels through a funnel."

Our follow up Art session included a reading of  a fictional account of the artist's young life titled The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock and the igniting of our own synesthetic senses while listening to music from Russian composer Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin.  This composition was said to be the inspiration for some of Wassily Kandinsky's colorful abstract paintings.

W. Kandinsky.  Color Study:  Squares with Concentric Circles.  1913.

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