Abstract Art with a Twist: Personalize Kandinsky | Nicole Arnold | Skillshare

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Abstract Art with a Twist: Personalize Kandinsky

teacher avatar Nicole Arnold, Wild about Art

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Ready


    • 3.

      Let's Paint: Starting Out


    • 4.

      Let's Paint: Wet on Dry


    • 5.

      Let's Paint: Wet on Wet


    • 6.

      Adding the Personal Touch


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About This Class

Abstract Art with a twist: Personalizing Kandinsky

Learn to paint like a pro, let loose, and have fun.  

Class Description

Painting abstract art is all about letting go and having fun.  Learn how to plan color choices and execute bold designs like the "father of abstract art," Wassily Kandinsky.  In under thirty minutes, you learn how to complete a modern masterpiece and add your personal stamp to a recognizable work. We will have fun while immersing ourselves in an activity that ignites our imaginations and pushes the boundaries of our creativity.  No prior painting experience is needed - all levels are welcome.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nicole Arnold

Wild about Art


Nicole is an artist and children's book illustrator who loves all types of art.  As a teaching artist, Nicole focuses on opening minds to make room for unexpected creativity.

Read more about her DIY projects, Art-o-mat adventures, and book recommendations on her blog, blog.nicolettaarnolfini.com, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter to enjoy her recent work.

Nicole's classes appeal to students who are looking to submerge themselves in a world of colorful, bold design, creative fearlessness and the wonders of the natural world.

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1. Intro: when I look at a work of fine art, I am just astounded at the creative possibilities that brought this particular piece together. So when I have pains, I want to feel feelings that that master artists felt. I want to feel how red feels on campus. I think it's so exciting to be able to see this canon of art history come together and then to be able to take my place among all of those wonderful artists throughout the years. I want for my students to enjoy those feelings to. I want them to feel like they have taken their place among master artists throughout the ages. It's a timeless experience in this class. We're going to use this reference material the Seeley Kandinsky's Squares with concentric circles. I'm gonna take you step by step in our lessons to paint a piece of art that is a recognizable work. Then you're going to add your personal stamp. I'm wondering, heard you throughout the lessons and remind you to do some sketches, report whatever you're interested in, it's going to end up manifesting itself in your final product. I want you to take the time to interact with me and with other class numbers to share your thoughts in a project, because interacting will be capped with fun and any pushes that you need along the way outside. I'm all I'm in orders. I'm a non profit professional and why, you know life is complicated, and the best way I could describe my life is to say that it's happy chaos. And even though the modern masters often plans their canvases meticulously, they still communicate a sense of happy chaos, often in their war. It's so difficult not to stand in front of a canvas that hasn't done by a tendency and does not feel that that overwhelming thoughts I need to let go. And in this class, that's what we're going to dio. We're going to embrace that heritage. We're gonna embrace that gift, and we're going to communicate it onto your campus. That's what you're going to say to you. If you want to take that journey with me and roll today at still share dot com and let's get together on this 2. Getting Ready: Hey, everyone, thanks for taking this artistic journey with us. So far, we've talked about this class from a big picture perspective. And in the next three videos, we're going to cover step by step painting instructional techniques. But for this video, I'm going to give you a list of supplies, and resource is that will lead to your success for your project. This list of supplies and resource is will be available on my website at the URL below. Please check that out. And if you have any questions, let me know in the comments section on that Web site. Okay, let's get started. What do you need? First, obviously, you need paint. Here's what we've got. Just a basic core mine Red, and I'll remind you of this. When we get to our next painting video, I'll actually talk about mixing these paints and what they do. Get yourself some white paint. This is just a titanium white and make sure you have a good yellow. What else do you need? Obviously, you're gonna need some paintbrushes buying paintbrushes, especially for first time. Artist can be a little bit baffling when you get to the art store, so Let's talk about what you need. Your basic basic basic acrylic paint brush is a long handled, so long stemmed paintbrush. This is my favorite. This is what I call a medium acrylic brush. You will notice that it looks kind of flat at the top, where the strands are. It is tightly clamped together at the top, so that when pressure is applied to the canvas, there is some give in the strands of the brush, but not a whole lot. There's a lot of force coming back. This gives you a high level of control with a viscous liquid, so think of a thicker liquid. You will also need a larger brush in your beginning stages. So in our very next video, you'll see me use this brush you can use as big as a house paint brush if you want to again . Acrylic brushes are sturdy at the top. There, not absolutes, is not absolutely hard. There is some give here that use a bigger brush to move around a lot of paint on the surface, and then you're going to need a finer brush or the smaller surfaces, and I'll use this especially in our last video. We've talked about the paint that you need, and we talked about paintbrushes. So next you need a ground to do your painting on. That's your canvas for canvas is you're gonna need a square canvas. I used a square canvas that was 14 by 14. Here's one that's 18 by 18. You can choose the size that you like the best for your easel. This canvas is double primed and gallery wrapped. So what does gallery wrapped mean? Gallery wrapped means that on the sides you don't see any staples, the staples or on the back of the canvas. Another thing that I think that you're gonna need from a creative and inspirational perspective, I'm going to encourage you to write down words that you want to convey. Maybe an emotion, maybe some thoughts that you want to convey in your painting. So I'm thinking off the word warmth. I'm gonna write that down on a sticky note, and I'm gonna put it on my easel or put it in my workspace. Or maybe my sketchbook, so that I'll remember that that's something that I consistently want to apply. No matter if I have to put down the paints and going through the phone handle some other issue. When I come back immediately, I'm back in the same missile space, thinking about what I want to paint. I'm not going to remind you a lot during our video lessons, but I would like for you to keep a sketchbook because you will find that whatever thoughts you have, whatever things that you're thinking about exploring will come out in your sketchbooks. And those ideas eventually are going to come out in your final work, anything that you have to add anything that you want to share with me. Please do so on your project page. That can include your inspirations, your music choices, the words that you put on your sticky notes or little pieces of paper around your work area . Anything that you want to share. Put that on your project page. I would love to see that and another thing. You do not have to be active on social media accounts in order to participate in this class , but I am, and you can see my accounts at the bottom of this video if you would like for your work to be featured when you post to Instagram or Twitter. Make sure to use the hashtag modern art masters. I will be looking at that hashtag and I'm going to randomly select student work from time to time to put on my social media accounts. I would love for it to be yours. I'd love for us to interact and joining this class. You've joined the ranks of modern art masters. I'm ready to paint. I hope you're That's what we're going to do in our next video. Let's get painting. 3. Let's Paint: Starting Out: Hey, everybody, we're ready now to start painting. And you know that I'm serious about painting because I actually have on my painting. Smart male. We're gonna start our first painting. This is the silly Kandinsky's concentric circles of the hiss squares of concentric circles . It's called different things, but it's from 1913 and I'm going to focus on the square that is in the bottom, right hand corner, one to the left. So it's the bottom robe, one to the left. It's very warm and effusive. It has a warm palette, so we're looking at yellows, and so you just kind of on my palette here what I have. I have just a basic acrylic paint here. It's actually pretty cheap. It's a lemon yellow. I like to use the lemon yellow instead of the Naples because the women has a real brightness to it actually has undertones of green in it, so it really does pop off the canvas. I'm using a basic carmine red deep, so just a really nice medium red tune and I'm using a titanium white and I'm gonna mix together a little bit of red and white, maybe a little bit of yellow later to get the corals that we're looking for in the pinks that we're looking for. But right at the beginning, first thing we need to do is smother this whole canvas in yellow. That's and you can use house paint brush for this part if you want to. What's not important here is really the thickness you're not looking. Teoh create debt, really just looking to Smathers the whole board in the color that you want in the background. And I've chosen that my background color is going to be yellow. Did it have to be yellow all over? You know, it really didn't. But I chose for to be yellow Oliver, because I want to bring out those warm tones, no matter what. If you have a background that's a solid color, even though you're gonna paint layer on layer on top of it, you're still communicating that warm. And remember how I told you in a former video that you need to keep in mind the things that you want to communicate with words that you want to communicate so maybe you want to communicate warmth or Kandinsky. He liked to talk about how colors would sing. So maybe singing is the word that you're going for. Well, for me, that that could be communicated with a nice warm yellow all over the canvas. And even though I'm gonna cover up actually quite a bunch of this not all of it, but quite a lot of it. I still want to have that communicated by covering the full canvas. Now, one of the things that I'm doing right now is I have a gallery wrapped Candace. So that means that I'm gonna paint the sides. Also, I'm actually not going to put this in a frame. I'm just gonna let it be the way it iss I'm gonna have the canvas hang on the wall so I don't need a frame. So when you do that, you just need to turn around and you'll notice if you can see this or not. But I'm going back and forth to the water again. I'm not looking for depth here. I'm not looking for a three D experience on the canvas. I'm just trying Teoh smathers the whole backgrounds. So there we go. What we want to make sure of is that we don't have anything open and want to say a word about acrylic paints. I'm using acrylic paints because I like acrylics. They dry really fast, so they're great for instructional purposes. They also look great, and you can paint him at the end with a finishing touch that makes him look every bit as good as oil. In my opinion, that's just my opinion. So you can use watercolor if you want to, and there are different ways to do that. But I'm going with acrylic for our purposes here. So now we have the background done, and we need to let this dry for a little bit, and we're gonna come back and put some new layers on. 4. Let's Paint: Wet on Dry: Okay, so now we're at a pretty exciting part. Now it's time to add red to the canvas, and red is actually by favorite color. I like to think it was a favorite color of Vassily Kandinsky. I don't know that to be true, but I definitely obviously admire his work. I admire the elegance of it and what he tried to portray. So again, think about those words that you're trying to portray singing, joy, ecstasy, elegance, whatever that ISS. And don't be intimidated by the fact that you need to reproduce exactly what Kandinsky did . You don't have to. You can do what you want. He would, I think, embrace that if he were here. And I think it would be very gratified by the fact that you're trying to learn something about what he did and what you can offer to the world. All right, so one of the things that we can talk about right now because I think that you can visually see the contrast on the canvas is hard in soft edges. This piece was actually painted as a watercolor. Well, mixed media. There were different types of paints that Kandinsky used. Overall, you can see in the finished product a lot of water color, and it was actually painted on paper instead of canvas. You'll notice that I don't have you painting on paper. If you want to paint on paper, it's OK with me. It's not a problem. You shouldn't paint vertically as I'm doing. However, you should paint on a horizontal plane so that your water doesn't drip everywhere and ruin your You're painting continuously as Ugo. So right now, as you see, I'm just putting the red paint onto the canvas. It will start mixing a little bit, even though it may not be mixing completely with the white. Excuse me, the yellow paint in the background to make orange. It's going to visually trick your eye into thinking that there's some orange on the painting because of the juxtaposition of the paint colors yellow and red, I'm going to leave some of the edges loose soft. I'm going to leave some of the edges really hard, and that way it has. What I feel like is, uh, may be described as chaotic. It may be described as inventive may be described as a little loose or abstract. I just like to say it's having fun. You just wanna have fun with this part of the painting. Make sure that you get a nice ring on there. Doesn't have to be perfectly symmetrical. It can be if you want to. One of the things that you may have noticed is that I did not get a pencil out and plan this piece with a pencil. What would be called an under painting? It's really an under drawing at this point. Instead, I just started painting and I did that because I like to have a lot of fun. What I'm painting. Obviously we thought a lot about this and we've planned out our lesson plans and we know that we have a plan and where we're gonna get what we're gonna dio. But I'm just letting things happen on the canvas. I'm letting things be a little bit disorganized on a little bit chaotic because that's what abstract art is about. It's about embracing life instead of trying to plan everything. The next thing that we're gonna do is we're going to come in and do a coral ring 5. Let's Paint: Wet on Wet: Okay. Now we're gonna do a wet on wet technique. It's different, obviously. From wet on dry, which is what we did originally. Originally, I started with the yellow canvas. I let that dry. And then I came back and did the red and I had loosened heart. I had soft and hard edges. Now we're going to do wet on wet. Remember, acrylics dry really quickly. So you don't have to wait very long, as opposed to oil painting where you do have to wait quite a while for things to dry. You can You can move pretty quickly with acrylics, which is one of the reasons why I like to use them. So we're gonna do a couple things. The first thing I'm going to do is use this Carmine red, and I'm gonna mix it. You only need a little bit. I'm gonna mix it with the titanium white, and it's going to give us a pink, right. It's gonna give us a light pink. You You learn this in school, right? Yellow and red. Make orange, red and white. Make pink. Right now. I'm gonna keep it up your peak and we're gonna do the coral ring on the inside? No, to me, this is looking very coronation pink. It's looking a little bit cooler than I thought it would look, and you could make it cool if you want to. You don't have to keep to a warm format just because I've decided to do a Warren format. You don't have to keep to these colors at all. You could be very inventive and go with the colors that you want. But if you want to stick with me on this one on this particular concentric circle in Kandinsky squares, that we're gonna go with a peak in the middle now remember, the beginning, I said, was focused on the words that we want to portray. One of the emotions that I want to portray was a sense of warmth. So now that I'm getting into a cooler pink, this spot in the middle has some depth to it. So I'm adding a little bit of depth with a peak. I'd like for this pain to be a little warmer, so the way to do that is to bring in a little bit of yellow. That's how we get coral. Sure, many of you know that already, but that that's definitely the way to do it. You have to be really careful with that, because it's gonna get quickly. Let's just kind of mess with this a little bit. See if we could notice a difference. Get a little more paint going here, and then I'm gonna change it into the coral by getting the yellow right involved in it. Okay, there we go. We're gonna have is some warming up occurring on the canvas as much as you want. Now, we can make this a lot warmer. We can get it a lot, get a lot more orange, and you might want to do that. In some places. You might want it to be coral and then have the cooler parts come out. Maybe have a little bit of the original yellow pop out. You remember I told you Kandinsky originally had this with a lot of water media involved, which meant that you can see through and see the bottom of the Kansas quite a bit. Just do this to your heart's content. It's always hard to know when to stop. Sometimes you have to stop and then come back and decide if you want to go more or less kind of putting Cem shading in at this point. The reason I'm doing this is because I like for this I'm transforming this a little bit into a floral. Now I'm kind of making a little bit of the idea that this could be a flower. It's not a flower. It's an abstract painting supposed to be non representational, right? But it could be what you wanted to bay. If you like florals, you want to see a flower come out of this, go for it. If you don't, you want it to be much harder, edge or geometric. Go with that. You might wanna do another painting that's completely different from that. I'm going to stop here because I just feel like at this point, the paintings telling me to give it a rest. So let's stop here 6. Adding the Personal Touch: Hey, everyone. You've come through most of this class and we just have a little bit left. I hope that you're feeling like the modern art master that you now are. Now it's time to put our personal stamp on your painting. At this point of the painting, I need to decide what I want to put as my personal stamp. So I did what I said earlier. I looked through my old sketchbooks and I just started to see What is it that I'm liking to draw? And one of the things that keeps coming up besides Kandinsky are some floral patterns. Looks like I'm really loving the floor work and a symmetrical element to it. So I'm gonna throw a flower on here, and I'm going to make this Kandinsky concentric ring into a Kandinsky Rose. That's going to be my personal stamp. I encourage you to do this part, too. And if you have any questions about this, let me know I'm going to actually block a little bit more about this portion of the class that you Earl is displayed on this video. If you have questions about where to go, what to do now, make sure to put that in the comments section, and I'll be happy to talk some more with you about that. So I purchased a stencil at my arts and crafts store. It's just a basic really large, symmetrical rows or flower. And I I used my pencil to put that down, and I didn't even put it down completely in the center of my painting. And then I used a pencil to put some of that in on my painting. I decided not to go this large because I thought it would overwhelm the canvas ever. Well, in the whole painting, I just wanted to do a detail of this. So I've done that, and now I'm gonna use some white paint. So I got a little bit of water over here, and I've got my paper tales to help me out. Just gonna use, um, titanium white with a smaller acrylic brush for detail work. And we'll start putting this white paint here on the Candace. I'm gonna lay in this color and add this little personal touch. - All right, I'm done. This portion of the project is complete. I can't wait to see what you're going to do. with your project to put your personal stamp on it. Please take a picture of it and share on social media, but also share on your project page in skill share because that's where we can really interact with the class. If you get some help on your project like I did with my four year old, you might need to go back and do a little bit of fine tuning here and there to make sure it looks good. What do you really need to think about for your final steps of the painting? You've got to think about what happens if somebody spills a coke on it, so you want to put some protective layers on there. You can use a fixative like this. It's just a spray bottle. You can use this. His cry line. This is a satin finish. Either of these will be fine. I suggest spring two layers on your finished dry painting, so wait till it's dry. Take it outside and spray it there. Two layers. First layer, let it dry another layer. Let it dry. Why do you want to do it outside? Because you don't want the spray stuff all over your house or in your lungs. You really need to do it where there's some fresh air. When that part is dry, then get a big brush and use gloss medium. This applies basically a clear coat of varnish. Look for things on the bottle, which ever brand you buy that. Make sure that it says that it's non yellowing, and I like the gloss. You can do a Matt if you want to. That's totally fine. It just depends on what final product you want on your on your projects on your painting. Congratulations, everyone. You are now a modern art master. I hope that you had fun on this artistic journey. I really had fun teaching you. It has been an honor to see your projects on the project plate page. Make sure that you take this final photos, make sure that you post them to your social media accounts. If you have those. And remember the hashtag modern art masters. I definitely want to recognize you for the work that you've done Happy travels to you on your further artistic journeys and happy art making to you from here on out, My modern or masters