NEW FREE LESSON: Colourful Circles
Create a splash in your classroom with this colourful artwork inspired by Kandinsky
Easy Peasy Level:
- Colour: Colour relationships, contrasting colours, analog colours.
- Composition: Placement of objects within a space to create a pleasing artwork.
- Shape: Using different sized circles as a focus of the artwork.
- Drawing: Drawing/colouring skills using oil pastel.
- Painting: Brush techniques/ outlining using a brush.
This colourful abstract artwork is inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s “Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913.” It’s a great lesson to explore the relationships between colours. In this artwork you will experiment with circles of different colours. You will see that some colours will look great together, while some won’t look so great. You will see that some colours will make a circle stand out but others will help to blend a circle in with its surrounding space.
You will need:
- White paper
- Oil pastels in a variety of colours
- Poster paints in 2 or 3 similar shades.
- Stiff bristle brushes large and small for detail.
- Water container
- Newspaper or table cover
- Paint shirts or aprons
Easy Peasy Tips:
- Check out online images of Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913 by Wassily Kandinsky. Look at how he experimented with colours and circles of different widths to make each section of the artwork interesting.
- Remember that this artwork is all about experimenting with colour. Try to use unusual combinations of colours together. Don’t just stick to your favourites. Yes, some may look terrible together, but you may also discover a great combination you hadn’t thought of!
- When designing your artwork, remember “Odd numbers look best.” Notice how we have mostly used odd number of circles. Aim for 3 main groups of circles in your design.
- Draw your design using a light coloured oil pastel. If you draw with pencil first you are more likely to draw tiny little circles that will be too hard to colour using oil pastel.
For The Teacher:
- Some students will struggle with drawing a correct circle shape on the page. It would be best to practise this first on a scrap piece of paper or their newspaper. Encourage them to draw slowly and to continue drawing around the shape several times without stopping to turn it into a smooth circular shape.
- When drawing their design, encourage students to use a variety of sizes, to overlap some circles and to look for spaces that need filling.
- Remember to use the correct grip when drawing and colouring with oil pastel. Not only will it prevent tired hands, it will also lessen the chance of smudging.
Creating Your Artwork:
Place your paper landscape style.
- Drawing: On the left side of the page, draw a large circle using a light coloured oil pastel. This circle should be large enough to get your clenched fist inside.
- Around this circle, begin drawing clumps of circles of different sizes. Remember, odd numbers look best. Also remember that you don’t need to completely surround the first circle and that it’s okay to overlap some of the circles.
- Now try and fill the remaining space on your page with two more circle clumps. Try not to touch the edges of your page. A good idea to remember is that you will need to be able to get the width of your brush between a circle and the edge of your page.
- Colouring: Now let’s begin adding colour. Start in the middle of your largest circle. Carefully colour a circle shape in the middle. Then continue adding more colours until you fill the circle. Notice how we didn’t colour the circles that are overlapping. Really try to use colours that are different from each other. This is called contrast. When colours are contrasting, they make one another stand out. When colours are similar and near one another on the colour wheel, they are called analog colours. These colours will blend nicely together, but they wont stand out as much.
- Begin experimenting with more colours on the other circles. Try colouring circles using both contrasting and analog colours. Also try using colours of different widths as shown.
- Continue your colouring and experimenting until all of your circles are coloured. Remember to colour in a circular direction. This artwork will not look very effective if you just colour up and down or side to side inside the circles. Also try really hard to fill in all of the spaces.
- Carefully outline each of the circles using black. If you have any tiny little spaces in between the circles colour these black as well.
- Create interest in your artwork by adding more detail and or patterns to SOME of the circles as shown. To keep a thin line, remember to turn your black oil pastel every now and then to keep a sharp drawing edge.
- Painting: Prepare your painting workspace and painting equipment. In our artwork we have used different shades of red and orange.
- Begin painting by carefully outlining the circle clumps as shown. You may need to use a smaller brush to get into the smaller spaces. Try and outline using long, smooth, continuous strokes. If you paint the outline using ‘petting’ strokes, your outline will be very messy.
- Now continue painting the reminder of the space until you have completely covered the background. Once painted, set your artwork aside to dry.
- Your artwork is now complete.
What do you like about your artwork? What would you do differently next time?
If you liked this artwork, why not try one of our other abstract artworks focusing on colour?