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Submitted by: Jan Hillmer, Berkeley Preparatory School
UNIT: Abstract Art - Social Studies integration -Mondrian
Lesson: Art from Map - Abstract composition using map and primary colors
Grade: Elementary (example is grade three)
The students used the map to create a Mondrian-like artwork. They had to put to use his severe simplicity in line as well as in color (of course, no green, which was a color he reportedly hated). Shapes created were more organic rather than geometric (or organic and geometric combined).
Having learned about Piet Mondrian, with his severe focus on line and primary colors, we used a map to explore his ideas in a unique way. The 3rd grade was asked to copy the lines in a section of map, excluding numbers and letters. Then they were asked to combine Mondrian's ideas with their map drawing. Each student artist chose the materials and technique used for this project.
Some materials were much better suited for this project. For the project shown in the picture, the artist used a sharpie pen along with Oil Pastel Crayons. Some kids chose markers instead, also with good results. The idea is to go after that color intensity. Watercolor had a completely different effect, not so Mondrian-like, but it did have it's own beauty.
Mondrian - By examining Mondrian's working process, through his drawings, studies and finished paintings, John Milner explores the tension between the disciplined compositions and their subject-matter.
Masters of Art: Mondrian (Masters of Art Series) - This book is a showcase of Mondrian's development over his lifetime. In addition to large, full color prints, it also contains a large quantity of information about Mondrian's life from his boyhood until his death.
Black glue (or black squeeze paint) with Tempera Paint (or Acrylic Paint). India ink lines - tempera paint. Black Acrylic Paint lines with Oil Pastels. Black Oil Pastels lines with Watercolor Paints. White Glue line on black Drawing Paper - color in with pastels. Black marker (or ink) with Tissue paper collage (cut to fit shapes). Students could look at techniques by Jasper Johns and create a crosshatched drawing with Colored Pencils.
Maps of regions discussed /learned in social studies can be used for this project. Review the map key and features before drawing.
Primary colors - geometric - organic - abstract - non-objective - focus - Piet Mondrian
Present/review primary colors (you may want to introduce Cyan-Yellow -Magenta as primaries too). Present work of Piet Mondrian - discuss work - abstract / non-objective.. Look at maps of regions being presented in social studies (or local maps). Review how to read a map -what the Key means etc. Demonstrate how to simplify and focus down on an interesting area. Demonstrate drawing selected area onto large white paper (or black paper if desired). Make lines of abstract composition bold black (see options). Allow choice of media for coloring in sections. Repeat colors for balance/unity/variety.
Variation: Paint entire composition. See Maps by Jasper Johns.
Click on the images for larger view
Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow, De Stijl, Oil on canvas, 1930
Map by Jasper Johns Oil on canvas. Museum of Modern Art, New York