Kandinsky circles are such a wonderful inspiration for a variety of projects. This tree project can be part of an Art or Math lesson. The children will love the process as well as the final product.
Below are suggested Steps for this project. You can tailor those steps according to your objectives.
Present abstract and figurative art by using postcards (or any media) of two or three different artists. I used Kandinsky, Picasso and Edward Hopper. Kandinsky was the example of abstract art, and I told the students he was considered by some as the creator of Abstract Art.
Simple explanation for kindergartners.
Abstract art uses shape, form, color and line to communicate, to create an artwork, a composition. The work does not represent anything that exist in the world. It does not have a link with reality.
Figurative art represents something that exist in the real world or something that exists in our imagination like fairies and witches.
I showed the students all the postcards from all three artists and we talked about them. We talked about their shapes, colors, what they represented, etc. The cards were placed on the mat under the names of each artist.
Sorting Game – Each student was given at least one card and they had to place them under the name of the correspondent artist.
We identified the shapes Kandinsky used in his paintings.
We looked at Kandinsky concentric circles.
Then I proposed a cut and paste project that would use concentric circles inspired by Kandinsky. The circles could be flowers in a tree. Other shapes were to be chosen to make the rest of the tree. As I planned this project as part of a Math lesson about 2D shapes I asked which shape we could use to make a trunk and they said rectangle, which was also the shape identified to make branches and roots. If doing this as an Art project the students can paint the trunk and branches. As part of this Math project I wanted students to realize that a shape holds its form regardless of its size and position in space.
Prepare a model project so the students had something to base their work. Otherwise they do not really know what the project is going to be. You can also let them free to create anything they want. It will depend again on your objectives with the project.
Decide on a background. We used liquid water color. Green for the ground and blue for the sky. If using watercolor use a good quality watercolor paper.
We discussed the best way to make the circles. My students chose to cut the circles themselves. First they cut the smaller circle and glue on a paper with contrasting color. They they cut around the smaller circle creating a bigger circle.
Repeat this process until you have at least 3 circles. Meanwhile the background is drying.
Students would cut the trunk and branches with a paper cutter so they were straight. For the branches they actually cut long strips with the cutter and the smaller pieces with scissors. Then they would glue the trunk and branches and then the concentric circle flowers. They were free to add details like roots, sun, grass, etc.
Here are some samples of their final work.
The background can be painted or you can use colored paper.
The trunk can be painted instead of cut.
The trunk can also be made by tracing the hand and arm of the child on brown paper. The arm is the trunk and the fingers are the branches.
You can give students different sizes of circles to trace instead of having them tracing freely.
Here is a link to another Kandinsky circles project http://mrsameliapreschool.blogspot.com/2012/05/painting-kandinsky-circles.html
Useful Links about Kandinsky:
From Web Museum Paris http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/kandinsky/
From the Museum of Modern Art – Kandinsky Compositions, A review by Mark Harden http://www.glyphs.com/art/kandinsky/