Unlocking Creativity and Learning through Project-Based Art

Unlocking Creativity and Learning through Project-Based Art

For young children, for whom so much knowledge is new and exciting and so many physical and mental skills have to be acquired, the need for exploration, experimentation, and play is even more important. That is a quote from one of my favorite Author and early years consultant Margaret Edgington

An important development occurs when children deliberately use and combine materials to create something they have seen or imagined. Project-based art is one of the strategies to help children achieve their learning journey.

Art projects aren’t just about decorating cut-out shapes or coloring within the lines. When facilitated thoughtfully, the process of creating art builds critical developmental skills in young children. 

This technique is called Negative Frottage. The children start with placing objects or materials with interesting shapes or forms on the canvas. Paint or drawing material is applied to the canvas/paper surface around and in between the objects. The objects are removed, leaving their contoured imprint behind as empty spaces with defined edges. The children then uses these negative space shapes as part of the imagery or composition.
This technique is called Negative Space Frottage. The children start with placing objects or materials with interesting shapes or forms on the canvas. Paint or drawing material is applied to the canvas/paper surface around and in between the objects.
Nurturing art means nurturing brains, hearts—and whole humans. More than painting skills or perfect shading, my students develop passion, responsibility, vision. And my job becomes less about instruction as the students flourish before my eyes. (2018)
Nurturing art means nurturing brains, hearts—and whole humans. More than painting skills or perfect shading, my students develop passion, responsibility, vision. And my job becomes less about instruction as the students flourish before my eyes. (2018)

What is Project-based Art

As I am passionate about holistic approaches to learning, over the years I have very much enjoyed implementing project-based art in my early-year teachings. And I am here to share some of my experiences with you.

Exploring with Salt-dough
In this photo, my students and I are exploring salt dough - a fundamental art medium for teaching young children. The versatility of this simple yet enriching dough makes it an ideal starting point for nurturing artistic expression and fine motor skills development in early art education. (2019)

A project-based art in early learning development refers to art activities or projects that are designed to promote learning and development in young children over a course of time.

The interesting part is that you incorporate curriculums like Reggio Emilia into it. My daughter has been doing project-based art since she was six months old.

The open-ended nature of art projects allows children to naturally direct the experience based on their developing interests and abilities

My inquisitive 3-year-old daughter, who attended the same early learning center where I taught, loved art exploration. In this photo, my young students/ daughter and I are joyfully experimenting with mixing paint colors. As an early childhood teacher, I believe hands-on creative play allows children to make exciting discoveries.

This approach is centered around the process of creating art, rather than the end product. The focus is on the experience, exploration, and experimentation with art materials.

What are the Benefits of Project-based Art?

Projects encourage creativity, self-expression, and problem-solving as children figure out how to use materials and try out their own ideas.

They incorporate open-ended art activities that allow children to work at their own level and ability. This includes activities like painting, drawing, sculpting with clay, and exploring other sensory materials.

Projects are designed to help children develop skills across domains including fine motor skills, cognitive skills, language/literacy, social-emotional skills, and general knowledge.

Collaborative rice canvas art.
In this photo, my young students are working with colored rice. Each child makes a distinctive mark on their collaborative canvas project. (2017)
In this photo, my young students are working with colored rice. Each child makes a distinctive mark on their collaborative canvas project. (2017)
By encouraging open-ended art exploration we can help children create beautiful art work.
By encouraging open-ended art exploration we can help children create beautiful art work.

Teachers/caregivers guide the process and facilitate learning, but allow children to take the lead and direct the experience based on their interests.

art project
In this photo, I was guiding an under-the-sea collaborative art canvas. Kids get ideas easily from books, music, and the interaction with the world around them.

Projects can be individual or collaborative, last for a single session or be expanded over days/weeks as the child pursues an idea. Documentation panels can capture the process.

This Under The Sea collaborative canvas work was done by 2 year old's, on wooden triangle canvas with acrylic paint (2017).
This Under The Sea collaborative canvas work was done by a class of 2 year old's, on a wooden triangle canvas with acrylic paint (2017).

Setting the Stage for Art Exploration

How do we help facilitate a project-based art?

The key is to start with designating an art area for open-ended exploration daily. Include a variety of tools and materials including paint, clay, collage scraps, markers, glue, tape, scissors, etc.

      Introduce children to 2-3 media/tools at a time. Demonstrate possibilities without prescribing outcomes to spark intrinsic motivation.

       Observe each child’s developing approach. Ask open-ended questions, make thought-provoking suggestions, and encourage persistence.

In this photo, I was introducing mixed media materials that can go on canvases.

      Document the process with photos, videos, written observations, and children’s own artwork. These will anchor reflective discussions.

      Keep finished pieces for a class exhibit or student portfolio highlighting the depth of learning. Display the documentation to showcase the process.

3D mixed media wood canvas is done by 4-year-old kindergarteners back in 2019. The art piece was named City Nights by my students.
3D mixed media wood canvas was done by my 4-year-old kindergarteners back in 2019. The art piece was named City Nights by my students.

       Return to the project over days or weeks as desired, expanding on emergent themes. Projects can spark related inquiries across subject areas.

     Support children’s role as peer mentors by encouraging collaboration and meaning-making together.

Growing artists develop both in and out of the classroom through nurturing their innate creativity.
Growing artists develop both in and out of the classroom through nurturing their innate creativity.

By facilitating project-based art explorations, we empower children to drive their own creative growth while developing skills critical for the 21st century. The journey is as meaningful as the destination!

Where To Draw Inspiration?

Active learning curriculums

I have always used The Reggio approach to provide access to a wide variety of materials for inquiry and expression and used open-ended art spaces to allow mix media.

Reggio learning is centered around long-term, collaborative investigations. Likewise, art projects can expand over days, weeks, and months as a child pursues an idea.

The Reggio model, projects emerge from the interests and initiatives of each child. Similarly, art projects allow children to actively construct their own learning.

The fulfillment emerges not just from the finished product but from observing the whole journey unfold.
The fulfillment emerges not just from the finished product but from observing the whole journey unfold. (21017)
This project driven by children's interests has gone through the introduction, planning, experimentation, exploring, and implementing stages.
As they began working on landscape paintings, the children recalled images of what they had just seen outside
This project driven by children's interests has gone through the introduction, planning, Experimentation, exploring, and implementing stages.
After a nature walk where 4 year olds observed the vibrant blue sky and green grassy meadows, they returned to filled with artistic inspiration.
As they began working on landscape paintings, the children recalled images of what they had just seen outside.
As they began working on landscape paintings, the children recalled images of what they had just seen outside
The children's finished landscape artworks depicting the wonder of nature they witnessed firsthand outside were as unique as their young imaginations.
The children's finished landscape artworks depicting the wonder of nature they witnessed firsthand outside were as unique as their young imaginations. (2017)

Nature and Our Environment as Inspiration

Using nature as inspiration for art comes naturally to young children. Providing opportunities for outdoor sensory exploration and bringing natural items into the classroom breathes life into their artistic endeavors.

They may use sticks, flowers, rocks, leaves, pinecones and other natural loose parts to print, paint, and even stick the material itself. Sometimes they may observe and replicate patterns from nature in their drawings. Other times nature inspires more symbolic representations or fuels their imagination.

My 2-year-old at the time and her class mates using nature as inspiration for art.
My 2-year-old at the time using nature as inspiration for art.
Leafy green forest-inspired work done on cotton fabric, the children painted and then printed real leaves in green acrylic.
Leafy green forest-inspired work was done on cotton fabric, the children painted and then printed real leaves in green acrylic.
Leafy green forest-inspired work done on triangular wood, painted in different shades of green acrylic paint.
Leafy green forest-inspired work done on triangular wood, painted in different shades of green acrylic paint.

Famous Art Works and Influential Artists

As children learn about influential artists that inspire emotion and imagination like Van Gogh, Monet, O’Keefe, Picasso and others, they assimilate new visual styles into their own expressions. Recreating famous artworks helps appreciate technique and fuels the genesis of new visions. Exploring varied artists nurtures original perspectives, cultural awareness, and timeless communication via art.

Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 - Wassily Kandinsky-Abstract
Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 - Wassily Kandinsky-Abstract

Kandinsky Inspired Collaborative Shapes Abstract Art By 4 Year- Old Students

This work was done by choosing Kandinsky as an inspiration. Just like the famous artist children used music as their inspiration. Listened to music during the process which took a couple of months to explore and accomplish. The black background paint was painted on thick wood(MDF). Other smaller and thinner triangular wood intricately painted abstract were placed by each child in art their chosen places.
This work was done by choosing Kandinsky as an inspiration. Just like the famous artist children used music as their inspiration. Listened to music during the process which took a couple of months to explore and accomplish. The black background paint was painted on thick wood(MDF). Other smaller and thinner triangular wood intricately painted abstract were placed by each child in their chosen places.

Pollock Inspired Drip Abstract Art Done by Children from Ages 2-5

Number 8-1949- Jackson Pollock. Drip Period
Number 8-1949- Jackson Pollock. Drip Period
Let's start with the background which is a wide wood palette, the children collaborated in dripping, splashing, and tapping. A large number of students participated in filling up this big and ambitious canvas with vibrant colors. (My daughter at one and a half going on 2 years old. (2016)
Let's start with the background which is a wide wood palette, the children collaborated in dripping, splashing, and tapping. A large number of students participated in filling up this big and ambitious canvas with vibrant colors. (My daughter at one and a half going on 2 years old. (2016)
Influential artists who inspire emotion and imagination can be a key learning resource and tool for little minds.
Influential artists who inspire emotion and imagination can be a key learning resource and tool for little minds.

Here are some examples of open-ended questions you can ask

Process/Technique Questions

What made you decide to use those colors/materials for this part of your art?

Another Ocean (Underwater) inspired Canvas done by children ages 2-5 (2019)
Another Ocean (Underwater) inspired Canvas done by children ages 2-5 (2019)

I noticed you chose a thicker paintbrush this time. How does that change the way the paint goes on compared to a thinner brush?

How does the clay/dough feel as you roll it between your hands? What changes as you add more water?

Thinking Skills Questions

What is your next step going to be with your art project? How did you decide?

What would happen if mixed different colors? different shades?

The printing technique is one of the most fun techniques for children to do and it includes lots of sensory and pattern-making.
The printing technique is one of the most fun techniques for children to do and it includes lots of sensory and pattern making,
Another printing art project done by 2-3 year old children. (2018)
Another printing art project done by 2-3 year old children. (2018)

Feelings/Reactions Questions

I can see you have been working hard adding lots of detail to your art – How do you feel about your work?

What do you think other children will find interesting about this part?

How does this color make you feel when you look at it? Do you think its a sad color or a happy color?

The String-pulling technique, with soft colors(Food Coloring) and strings, creates a calming artwork. (2019)
The String-pulling technique, with soft colors(Food Coloring) and strings, creates a calming artwork. (2019)
The children made art with sweets. I think it invoked so much joy. (2019)
The children made art with sweets. I think it invoked so much joy. (2019)

Socio-Emotional and Therapeutic Benefits

Promotes Self-Expression & Emotion Processing

Open-ended art allows children to freely express inner thoughts, feelings, experiences, and emotions through visual symbols and creative choice-making. This helps them process joy, frustration, fear, anger, etc healthily. The teacher facilitates discussion and validation of their emotions as depicted through the art.

With an array of materials creating mixed media that brings out different emotions to explore. That in turn builds emotional intelligence.
With an array of materials creating mixed media that brings out different emotions to explore. That in turn builds emotional intelligence. (2019)

Builds Confidence & Resilience

As children envision what they wish to create and persist through challenges to complete their project, they build creative confidence and resilience. Taking risks, problem-solving, and directing the outcome bolsters independence and self-esteem. Celebrating mistakes and iterations as part of the artistic process helps normalize failure.

With guidance, using diverse art media and techniques children create the most amazing work because unlike adults they concentrate on the process more than the end result. (2019)
With guidance, using diverse art media and techniques children create the most amazing work because unlike adults they concentrate on the process more than the end result. (2019)
With guidance, using diverse art media and techniques children create the most amazing work because unlike adults they concentrate on the process more than the end result. (2019)
Acrylic Pouring technique used to my student's favorite way to make art, They have made quite a lot. It's simple expressive and fun in the process and they end up being beautiful works. (2019)
Students need room to stretch their imaginations, learn from mistakes, build confidence through risk-taking. If I interject too much structure or redirection, those peer-to-peer epiphanies wouldn't unfurl the same way.(2019)
Students need room to stretch their imaginations, learn from mistakes, build confidence through risk-taking. If I interject too much structure or redirection, those peer-to-peer epiphanies wouldn't unfurl the same way.(2019)

Enhances Relationships & Social Skills

Collaborating on group art projects requires communication, compromise, and learning from diverse perspectives. Negotiating roles and responsibilities builds empathy and community. Even in individual projects, discussing work and giving feedback promotes active listening, expressing thoughts, and respecting others.

More Gallery of My Student Creativity Through the Years

Another printing art project done by 3- 4 year old children. (2019)
Dragging technique implemented by a class of 4-5-year-olds. Open-ended, child-led exploration allows assimilating techniques tailored to evolving talents and interests. (2019)
Dragging technique implemented by a class of 4-5-year-olds. Open-ended, child-led exploration allows assimilating techniques tailored to evolving talents and interests. (2019)

In summary, project-based art promotes creative self-directed learning through meaningful hands-on art experiences tailored to early childhood development and interests.

As a caregiver/educator, few joys compare to witnessing the awe-inspiring creativity and self-directed learning unfolding before you as children dive into an art activity. Stepping back as they independently problem-solve through conceptual, technical, and collaborative challenges allows them to build confidence in their developing abilities.

Artists Who Painted there Emotions

Artists Who Painted Their Emotions

Expressing the Inexpressible: How Painters Harness Art to Externalize

Artists throughout history have harnessed their craft to express a wide amount of human emotion. On one end of the spectrum, you have buoyant, upbeat painters like Henri Matisse, who conveyed joyful feelings of excitement and optimism through bright, lively works like his fauvist Dance paintings. Matisse described his artistic goal as creating “an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter.”

On the other hand with anguished artists like Vincent van Gogh, whose work reflected his lifelong struggles with mental illness. Paintings like The Starry Night and many self-portraits externalized his inner demons, sorrow, and anxiety through thick, agitated brushstrokes and tormented imagery. “I put my heart and my soul into my work,” he said, “and have lost my mind in the process.”

HENRI MATISSE The Blue Window Still Life Expressionist Painting
HENRI MATISSE The Blue Window Still Life Expressionist Painting
The Starry Night- Vincent Van Gogh. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint Remy de Province.
The Starry Night-Vincent Van Gogh. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint Remy de Province.

Both approaches offer truth. We contain multitudes – light and dark, agony and ecstasy. Expressing only one aspect would be inauthentic for most of us. As full human beings, we ebb and flow between troubles and joys, boredom and bliss. Yet exploring the extremes helps us understand ourselves. As Frida Kahlo mused, “I paint flowers so they will not die.” Art preserves our experiences across the emotional spectrum.

Magnolias 1945 - Frida Kahlo
Magnolias 1945 - Frida Kahlo

Artistes Depicting Their Inner Storms Through Paintings

Throughout history, painters have channeled their anxieties, grief, melancholia, and other difficult-to-grasp emotions onto the canvas.

Their turbulence transformed into masterpieces that resonate through time. Far from glamorizing darkness, these brave souls illuminate the universality of human turmoil.

Vincent Van Gogh was notorious for depicting his mental anguish in profound ways, swirling paintings like The Starry Night. The moody, abstract landscape seems to mirror his inner storminess. Frida Kahlo unpacked her physical and psychic pain in intimate self-portraits loaded with surreal symbolism, such as her graphicly ravaged heart depicted in The Broken Column.

Vincent Van Gogh- Self portrait
Vincent Van Gogh- Self portrait
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo

Many of Van Gogh’s paintings use color, brushwork, and composition to vividly convey emotional states and inner turmoil.

His symbolic imagery allows viewers to intensely feel and perceive the emotions he experienced and conveyed on canvas. His raw self-expression connects authentically with audiences across time.

Sorrowing Man - Vincent Van Gogh

The Sorrowing Old Man (1890) - Heavy brushstrokes and an anguished face externalize his inner grief and distress.

"I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream." -Vincent Van Gogh

Mark Rothko – Moody fields of color in paintings like ‘No. 5/No.22’ were meant to stir specific emotions in viewers through color alone. His brooding colors, such as those in No.61, envelop viewers, evoking a melancholic sublime.

"I paint to evoke a changing language of symbols." - Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko- Painting No. 5/No.22- 1949-1950
Mark Rothko- Painting No. 5/No.22- 1949-1950

Rothko carefully chose hues to establish a brooding, melancholic, or meditative mood. Dark browns and deep reds create gravity and solemnity.

He wanted viewers to experience a kind of awe or transcendence before the colored voids, like at a religious ceremony. The colors evoke the metaphysical. His monumental canvases immerse viewers physically, making them feel small before the pulsing color fields. This intensifies the emotional effect.

Untitled, 1968- Mark Rothko-Abstract

"Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks." Mark Rothko

Jean-Michel Basquiat – Raw, scribbled paintings like ‘Riding with Death’ exuded his inner life.

His paintings have an intense, frenetic energy conveyed through scribbled lines, chaotic compositions, and bold marks. His works seem to exude strong emotions like anger, anxiety, loneliness, or euphoria. The loose style captures a kind of frenzied feeling flowing directly from his psyche.

Jean Basquiat- Skull Neo-Expressionism 1981
Jean Basquiat- Skull Neo-Expressionism 1981

"I don't listen to what art critics say. I don't know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is." Jean Michel Basquiat

Riding With Death -Jean Michel Basquiat-1988 Neo-Expressionism, street art
Riding With Death -Jean Michel Basquiat-1988 Neo-Expressionism, street art

He painted gritty street scenes, words, symbols, and figures that spoke to his urban upbringing in New York City. The rawness of his style thus grew from emotional connections to his environment.

Self-portrait, 1982 - Jean Basquiat- Neo- Expressionism
Self-portrait, 1982 - Jean Basquiat- Neo- Expressionism

"I don't think about art when I am working I think about life."

 Jackson Pollocks drip painting technique is highly gestural, suggesting the artist was directly channeling his unconscious onto the canvas. The splattered paint embodies a raw, unmediated creative process.

However, Pollock resisted being neatly categorized by critics and theorists eager to label him. In 1956, when speaking with art historian Selden Rodman, Pollock rejected terms like “abstract expressionism,” “non-objective,” and “nonrepresentational” being applied to his work. He asserted that at times he was very representational, and a little representational overall. Pollock thus challenged assumptions and simplifications about his creative motivations and content.

Number 8-1949- Jackson Pollock. Drip Period
Number 8-1949- Jackson Pollock. Drip Period

"The modern artist is expressing an inner world - the energy, motion, and inner forces." - Jackson Pollock

Portrait and a Dream 1953- Jackson Pollock Abstract Expressionism
Portrait and a Dream 1953- Jackson Pollock Abstract Expressionism

"I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. Techniques are just a means of arriving at a statement." - Jackson Pollock

 Marc Chagall created fantastical, dream-like paintings that evoked a complex range of emotions and moods related to his life and Jewish heritage.

Memories from his small village in Russia permeate his work. Scenes of village festivals, wedding celebrations, and fiddlers on rooftops convey deep nostalgia and sentimentality. 

I and the Village 1911- Marc Chagall

Amidst the wonder, Chagall’s work also reflects moments of sadness and loss. Solitary figures or more somber colors occasionally suggest loneliness or grief. Despite his works being emotion-invoking not all were melancholic.  

Old Women with a Ball of Yarn 1906- Marc Chagall
Old Women with a Ball of Yarn 1906- Marc Chagall

"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing." - Marc Chagall

The Birthday 1915- Marc Chagall
The Birthday 1915- Marc Chagall

Chagall painted many affectionate representations of his wife Bella. His love imbues these vibrant, poetic portraits and flying couples with warmth.

 Edvard Munch famous work ‘The Scream’ depicted the anxiety and dread he felt in a moment of intense anguish. Other paintings like ‘The Sick Child’ expressed his grief.

The Scream 1893- Edvard Munch
The Scream 1893- Edvard Munch

Despite radical simplification, the landscape in the picture is recognizable as the Kristiania Fjord seen from Ekeberg, with a broad view over the fjord, the town, and the hills beyond. In the background to the left, at the end of the path with the balustrade that cuts diagonally across the picture, we see two strolling figures, often regarded as two friends whom Munch mentions in notes relating to the picture.

But the figure in the front is the first to capture the viewer’s attention. The figure is unclear and it is hard to say whether it is a man or a woman, young or old – or even if it is human at all.

"From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity." Edvard Munch

Anxiety, 1894- Edvard Munch
Anxiety, 1894- Edvard Munch

Figures are often isolated, turned away, or positioned to convey psychological states like loneliness, grief, or alienation. Munch incorporated atmospheric elements like menacing clouds or waves to mirror internal emotions externally. His Stream-of-Consciousness Style like loose, gestural application of paint evokes a spontaneity that immediately transfers emotion to canvas.

Looking on the Bright Side: Artists Who Capture Joy

In a world that often feels bleak, art has the power to uplift. Though many renowned works depict suffering and darkness, some artists consciously harnessed their brushes to explore cheerier emotions like bliss, love, delight, and optimism.

French artist Henri Matisse pushed boundaries with his lively Fauvist works like Dance I and The Joy of Life. Vibrant colors and energetic brushwork convey freedom and jubilation. Matisse sought to share the euphoric state he achieved while painting.

The joy of life, 1905- Henri Matisse -Fauvism

"I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have a light joyousness of springtime, which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me. " -Henri Matisse

The Little Gate of the Old Mill 1898- Henry Matisse
The Little Gate of the Old Mill 1898- Henry Matisse

There is so much to say about Matisse. In his later life, Matisse, who was partially reliant on a wheelchair, continued his artistic endeavors by creating cut-paper collages and working as a graphic artist.

La Gerbe 1953- Henri Matisse - Abstract Expressionism
La Gerbe 1953- Henri Matisse - Abstract Expressionism

American artist Grandma Moses(Anna Mary Robertson Moses) began painting in her 70s, depicting nostalgic, idyllic scenes from her rural childhood like Catching the Thanksgiving Turkey. Her charming, folk art compositions radiate comfort and wholesome happiness.

Joy Ride- Grandma Mosses 1953- Naïve Art (Primitivism)
Joy Ride- Grandma Mosses 1953- Naïve Art (Primitivism)

"Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be." Grandma Moses

Her work is cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age. Her works have been shown and sold in the United States and abroad and have been marketed on greeting cards and other merchandise.

The Rainbow 1961 Naïve Art (Primitivism) - Grandma Moses
The Rainbow 1961 Naïve Art (Primitivism) - Grandma Moses

Many Impressionists, like Claude Monet with his delightful Water Lilies series, aimed to share the joy they felt illuminating nature’s beauty. Light-filled landscapes elicit a sense of wonder and contentment.

Water Lily Pond, 1917- Claude Monet -Impressionism
Water Lily Pond, 1917- Claude Monet -Impressionism

He expertly captured the pleasure and emotional lift he found immersing himself in nature. In some ways his works convey uplifting emotions. His loose, broken brushstrokes and visible thick paint convey the motion and vitality of scenes, like shimmering water or rustling leaves. This energetic style elicits excitement.

Road to the Saint-Simeon Farm, 1864-Claude Monet- Impressionism
Road to the Saint-Simeon Farm, 1864-Claude Monet- Impressionism

"Eventually, my eyes were opened, and I really understood nature. I learned to love at the same time."

By painting outdoors, Monet aimed to recreate the euphoria he felt in nature. That uplifting emotion translates into the work.

In multiple works like Haystacks or Rouen Cathedral, Monet captured different light/weather, showing nature’s ability to uplift in any setting.

Adolphe Monet Reading in the Garden, 1866 - Claude Monet- Impressionism
Adolphe Monet Reading in the Garden, 1866 - Claude Monet- Impressionism

"I perhaps owe having to become a painter to flowers." Claude Monet

Wassily Kandinsky was deeply interested in expressing emotions and spiritual meanings through abstract art. Here are some ways his paintings reveal his focus on inner feelings.

Kandinsky associated certain colors with specific emotions or mystical values. Blue symbolized spirituality, yellow cheerful emotions, and red for aggression.

Murnau Garden, 1910- Wassily Kandinsky- Expressionism
Murnau Garden, 1910- Wassily Kandinsky- Expressionism

The placement and interaction of shapes was meant to evoke tension, excitement, stillness, etc.

Diagonals conveyed motion and dynamism. He let spontaneous brushstrokes directly capture his inner state, without planning. This revealed his unconscious feelings.

Black Frame, 1922- Wassily Kandinsky- Abstract
Black Frame, 1922- Wassily Kandinsky- Abstract

"Everything starts from a dot." Wassily Kandinsky

One of his techniques, I especially like, is his association of music with color, he tried to visually capture melodies, instruments, and rhythms in energetic compositions. I remember teaching my class of four-year-old’s, a little about Kandinsky. We used his method as inspiration to paint canvases with music. They turned out pretty beautifully.

Composition VII,1913- Wassily Kandinsky - Abstract
Composition VII,1913- Wassily Kandinsky - Abstract

"Color is the power that directly influences the soul." Wassily Kandinsky

Composition VII considered his most complex visualization of music in painting, full of clashing dissonances.

Music was a critical inspiration for the evolution of Kandinsky’s groundbreaking abstract paintings. In particular, the innovative works of Viennese composer Arnold Schönberg significantly influenced Kandinsky.

Kandinsky’s theories on art’s potential to evoke psychological, physical, and emotional responses.

Kandinsky was also synesthetic, which means, he associated specific colors with particular instruments and musical notes. This shaped his approach of conveying melodies, harmonies, and rhythms directly on the canvas through visual means.

"Each color lives by mysterious life." Wassily Kandinsky

Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 - Wassily Kandinsky-Abstract
Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 - Wassily Kandinsky-Abstract

Yellow-Red-Blue has a rhythmic, melodic quality with its sequence of forms and colors. Kandinsky described it as a "symphony."

In dark times, we need the light. For centuries, artists have explored happiness, delight, love, and optimism as worthy subjects. Their vibrant works remind us beauty persists. As Monet said, “Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.” May the dazzling hues of creative spirits brighten your day!

Exploring how different artists throughout history have used painting to express the full range of human emotion is fascinating.

What messages of positivity and hope can we find in art, if we take time to look? What do you see?

Discloser- All images on this blog post were sourced from wikiart.org and Wikimedia Commons which are public domains. The links are down below.