Last week’s second grade art lesson was all about shape.
Facts about shapes: they are flat, they are made from “closed” lines, some have names (triangle, square, circle). Shapes that have names are called geometric. Shapes that don’t have names are called organic or irregular shapes.
Then I introduced the kids to Piet Mondrian, Dutch painter and pioneer of geometric abstract art.
Piet Mondrian, Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1930
Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942
The kids thought the name of this Mondrian piece was really funny. We talked about the twinkling lights on Broadway & how he used geometric shapes and color to make his art “twinkle” too.
Inspiration for the art project for the day came not only from Mondrian’s use of outlined shapes filled with color, but also from from the wonderful book “Art is Fundamental”. Using pre-cut pieces of cardboard in all sorts of geometric shapes and sizes, the kids made overlapping shape outlines on their paper.
Using oil pastels, the kids were encouraged to fill in every new shape that was made by the overlapping lines in a new color. They also had the choice to fill up every shape with color or leave white space like Mondrian.
Most of the kids created abstract pieces of art, but a few tried to create pictures from the shapes in their art.
The result: a beautiful collection of colorful geometric art the kids were so proud of and the teachers used to decorate empty classrooms walls, hoping to bring a little beauty to the next two weeks of CA State testing.