Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kandinsky-ish Color Study Sugar Cookies


Another activity on the children's science themed, library summer reading list was to "experiment with mixing colors".   I thought at first I'd just have them jot down a quick description of one of the countless color mixing activities we've done in the past.  But then, I decided to go for it, and plunge full force into a lesson on abstract art.

We've been having a lot of fun with abstract art already this summer by way of scribble pictures, and circle coloring, and such.  And, it just so happens that the father of the movement, Wassily Kandinsky, is especially famous for his "Color Studies" - not just mixing one color with another to make a new color, but placing colors side by side in different patterns to find pleasing combinations of color.

And, since it's been a while since we've done a really big, afternoon encompassing, cookie project it seemed only natural to start with a batch of sugar cookie dough (recipe and baking instruction - here), divided into quarters...


...then colored (with about a half a bottle of food coloring each) 1/4 red, 1/4 blue, and 1/4 yellow, with 1/4 left plain.


I divided the dough up, and gave some of each color to the children...


...to tear off, and squish together to form blobs of new color, large enough to form into...


...quarter inch thick, one and a half inch squares, using a paper square for a guide.  I thought at first, they would roll the dough out, and cut around the paper squares with a butter knife.  But, it turned out to be easier to just pat the dough down by had, and form it into squares with their fingers.


When they each had a number of different colored squares created, they cut them in half...


...then into uneven fourths, by cutting off the corners...


...and finally into six pieces diagonally...


...so they could pull them apart and rearrange them on the cookie sheet...


...in a manner similar to...


...Kandinsky's "Color Studies" (thumbnail photo from Wikigallery.org).


They each made one Kandinsky-ish cookie, and then I let them free form whatever they wanted with the left-over scraps of dough.  My younger girls started blobbing circles together, to make flowers.


When I commented that their flowers looked a lot like Kandinsky's Concentric Circle color studies...


...they decided to leave off the stems, and use up the dough making more of the same.  Which in the end, made for a large number of color combinations to enjoy for a snack.  It's often said that Kandinsky could hear colors...


...we prefer to taste them.


Additional Resources we used:

Clips from YouTube:

"This Is Color: The Study of Light" a 1950's educational documentary.

Art Lessons for Kids: Kandinsky Color Study

Wassily Kandinsky Short Biography student production.

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), paintings put to music.

Books:

Sticker Art Shapes: Wassily Kandinsky by Sylvie Delpech






The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock.

10 comments:

Kristin said...

More book suggestions to add to our reading list! Love it!

Speaking of books, I'm trying to compile a list of quality literature for my kids to read during the school year. I'm not looking for required reading, just ideas of books to stretch their minds. I thought I'd ask you since you seem to have lots of idea on different topics. You can email me (two.pogs @ gmail dot com) or add to the thread I have going on my blog FB page (https://www.facebook dot com /frommylifeblog). Not trying to plug my blog, but wanted to give you another way to contact me. :-)

Phyllis said...

What great fun! I plan to teach an art course at our co-op and I think I will add this activity to my lessons. The kids will love me for it. :)

Elizabeth Lund said...

What a fun idea!! This is such a fun way for little ones to learn about several things. Love it. And, did they love the cookies? I bet!

Katie Pinch said...

What a fun activity!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Fun, creative, educational, and delicious. What a great activity!

raventhreads said...

I love this! I can see my Rose having a blast with this :-)

Angelic Scalliwags said...

I love those colours - so vibrant and then placed together - this is a really effective art project.

Sue Elvis said...

Now I want to find out more about Kandinsky. All those wonderful colours! Thanks for sharing!

Ticia said...

We had a chance to see some of his work at the Chicago Art Institute this past week while we were there. It's rather interesting.

Bethany said...

They look yummy!