Kandinsky and Annimation

Kandinsky and Annimation

Grade Level/age: 5th grade, 10 to 11 year olds

Time needed: 5 class  periods

Focus: Gaining an understanding of Photoshop by constructing Kandinsky inspired animations. We will focus specificly on learning about the tools of Photoshop like the pencil, pen, eyedropper, paint bucket, stamp, selection tools, and Opacity.

a. 1. Describe the use of elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence.
b. 2. Describe how the principles of media arts such as repetition, unity contrast are used in the creation, presentation or response to media artworks.
c. Learn basic tools of Photoshop.

Motivational Resources

-handout on the explanation of the Kandinsky Animation project  

-Power-point of Kandinsky's work including :

 Harmony Tranguille 


Swinging, Several circles Asserting, Accent on Rose Composition, Circles in Circles, Traverse Line, black Relationship, Contrasting Sounds, Calm Bend, All Around 


Traverse Line.jpg

Circles Retro Mod Painting


Farbstudie Quadrate



Kandinsky Annimation and Movie of different works:

unknown artist

youtube artist Toonadelphia

youtube artist Evenstar100 (Chris)

youtube artist lazyconquistador (Nathan)

Short clip explaining Kandinsky's connection of color and sound

Pianist Jade Simmons introduces her newest innovative performance project called Scriabin and Kandinsky: Hearing Color, Seeing Sound

Music by Schoenberg

Art Materials:

  Expressionism started in a variety of countries around 1905 however German expressionists were some of the most well known and really ran with this movement (Pioch).  There were two primary waves of Expressionism including Die Brucke (the Bridge) and Der Blau Reiter (The Blue Rider) (Pioch).  Die Brucke was highly inspired by Van Gogh, Gauguin, and prehistoric art (Pioch).  The leader of this group was the artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.  Their work was dark and full of tension.  They became most famous for their woodcut prints and use of Graphic elements (Pioch).  Der Blau Reiter was the second wave and founded by Vasily Kandinsky, marc, and Gabriel Munter in 1911 (The Blue Rider).  The group focused on color shapes and forms and their relationship to sound and music.  They also focused on the spiritual qualities of color and how they can enhance the viewer's experience of a painting. (The Blue Rider).
  Vasily Kandinsky was famous for his Expressionist paintings, which were highly influenced by the elements of music.  He once said "The very word composition called forth in me an inner vibration.  Subsequently, I made it my aim in life to paint a composition" (Dabrowski, pg 11).  His inspiration and source of content in his paintings come from the expression of his feelings, as he responds to events of an internal nature (Dabrowski, pg 11).  Although he started painting around the age of thirty he did not really begin to develop his personal style until 1909 when he was in his early forties (Dabrowski, pg 12-13).  He was born in Moscow, Russia to a wealthy merchant, was well educated, and he initially studied the law and economics (Dabrowski, pg 12).  There were two main events that lead Kandinsky to become an artist, the viewing of Monet's Haystack Painting at a French Impressionist opening, and the realization that music can create images in ones mind through the performance of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin (Dabrowski, pg 13).  Kandinsky was also inspired by the composer Arnold Schoenberg.  They shared a belief that modern art and atonal music were traveling in the same direction, breaking previous traditional beliefs of both forms of art (Leggio, pg 98).  So not only were Kandinsky's compositions inspired by the expression of his feelings but the feelings are also a reaction to his close listening and study of music.  In his compositions the dot is the equivalent of one tone in music, and he uses this basic element to build up a composition of harmony that reflects the harmony of the music he is inspired by (Leggio pg 105).  Other important elements in his pieces are lines, circles, and geometric shapes.  He uses a variety of intensely saturated colors combined with muted and transparent color to create harmony and balance in his piece.  He also uses dark black line through out his paintings to unify, organize, and create movement through his paintings.

Instructional Procedure:
  Class 1:  Students will view a power point presentation of Kandinsky's paintings and how they were inspired by music and personal feelings.  They will then receive a handout on the upcoming project, which is to create a Kandinsky inspired Photoshop animation.  Students will also view examples of Kandinsky animations to gain inspiration for their own Photoshop animations.  We will end with each student researching at their computer to find two to four Kandinsky Paintings that will be the inspiration for their animations.

Class 2:  Introduction to Photoshop tools including paintbrush, pen tool, paint bucket, shape tool.  Students will be asked to watch how to use each tool and then practice using that tool after each demonstration.  They will also be shown how to work in layers, so that each time they practice a tool they start a new layer, from a merged copy of the previous layer.  Also a demonstration of the stamp tool will be conducted by making a stamp from one of Kandinsky's paintings.  Each student will be asked to make a stamp from one of the paintings they picked for inspiration.  Color adjustment will also be explained as well as Opacity.  Lastly students will learn how to open up their animation window, and create a short animation of their practice through their layers.  After seeing how animation in layers works students will be asked to bring in a progression of how they want to build and change their Kandinsky composition through 5 small drawings.

Class 3:  Class will open with a short discussion on how you can use color, and the way and order your composition develops to add interest and movement. An explanation on how Kandinsky uses repetition of color line and shapes to unify his compositions and create harmony.  Also how he creates order with the contrast between color and the use of black outlines through out his work.  Students will also be reminded how to work in layers, and how to copy a merged layer.   Students will then have the rest of the hour to develop their compositions, remembering to make each new element in a new layer.  As they work the video "Wassily Kandinsky Art" will be playing in the background for inspiration with out sound as well as some Schoenberg music that was one of Kandinsky's biggest inspirations.  Students will be told to listen to the sound of the music and see if it influences how your composition develops.

Class 4:  Students will get to work right away with Schoenberg playing in the background.  After they finish they will be shown how to export their annimations as a quicktime video and put it in a public class file. During the last part of the hour Students will vote on their 3 favorite Schoenberg songs and sign up for their animation to be shown with their favorite of the 3.  From this list the instructor will string together the animations into one video with Schoenberg songs in the background. 

Class 5:  Students will watch the video of their class work, and pick three animations that caught their attention and write why in terms of image, color, and movement.  Writing for each will be one to two sentences.

Evaluation/Assessment-  Critical analysis through short written reaction

Discipline Based Art Education:
Art production:  Students made Kandinsky Inspired animations

Aesthetics:  Students were introduced to the aesthetics of Expressionism through the work of Kandinsky 

Art History:  Students learned about the Expressionism movement as well as the artist Vasily Kandinsky.

Art Criticism:  Students wrote a short reaction to their classes work by picking three animations that stood out to them and why in terms of the elements used, as well as color, and movement.


 "The Blue Rider."  Huntfor.com.  12 Dec. 2009.    

 Dabrowski, Magdalena.  Kandinsky Compositions.  Harry N. Abrams: New York, 1995.

 Leggio, James, ed.  Music and Modern Art.  Routledge: New York and London, 2002. 

 Pioch, Nicolas.  "Expressionism". Web Museum, Paris.  14 Oct. 2002. 12 dec. 2009