Rebecca Vadnie

Art and More



Riffing on Kandinsky, Klee, and Torres-García

***Scroll to the bottom for final update!***

There are two reasons why I wanted to do this workshop:

1. I love Kandinsky. 

2. I have never attempted abstract art. Ever.

So here goes nothing!

Day 2: Research


"Composition VII" by Kandsinky, 1913.

I went back through Kandinsky's collection of work, then read parts of his work on color theory. Long story very, very, very short: Kandinsky connected color to sound to emotion. The a scarlet red, for example, might evoke the feeling within a person as the sound of a forceful trumpet. Light blue would be a flute. White "a silence pregnant with possibilities." His paintings are not only created as by a painter, but a composer as well. "Composition VII" is makes me think of a forceful song, a bright song with intensity. This is the main idea I want to hold onto during my project.


Joaquín Torres-García

Born in 1874, Torres-García is a Urugayan artist working in a similar modernist vein. He was a reccomendation from a friend when I told them about this workshop. I like the rhythm and detail of his work, as well as his use of a limited color palette.


"Abstraction with Reference to a Flowering Tree" by Paul Klee, 1925fsdf.


"Wald-Hexen (Forest Witches)" by Paul Klee, 1938.

Paul Klee was my other favorite Bauhaus painter. The first painting I picked out because of the way he used color to represent an object in a completely abstracted way; the second because it broke down objects and people into these broad, simplified forms. Some of my doodles are made with thick black lines and color gradations, so it might be fun to explore that further.

Day 3: Gathering Supplies

I've decided to use Kandinsky's "Capricious Forms" as my starting point, but may incorporate some of the elements I like from Torres-García and Klee as well.


Completely different painting than I originally posted. Does this give you any idea of how my mind works? (mwahaha...)

Lately I've been listening to a lot of Beastie Boys, so I think that's going to end up being my music inspiration. Colorwise, it's going to be high saturation, high key. Doing some quick sketches and iternations will help me pin down ideas more.

Day 5

Okay, so I've decided the theme I'm going to work on is "dynamic." That feeling of movement, energy, highs and lows, change and the rush that comes with it. And as silly as it might sound, the song I picked is "So Whatcha' Want" by the Beastie Boys. This is my go to, need-to-perk-up song; it's grounded with a heavy bass line and the vocals are filtered with this great crunchy sort of sound. The chorus has whirling sound that loops in the aurel equivalent of a whiplash line. There's a lot to work with there in terms of connecting sound to color and composition.

The colors I'm leaning toward right now is a rich magenta, yellow-green, and gold (inspired by an illustration of traditional Indian court dress). 

Day 6-8

Photos from the working process:


I mixed Payne's Gray acrylic with a medium that increased the flow, then added some liquid acrylic in process magenta to tint some of the lighter areas between the brush 


Then I took a soft-lead carpenter's pencil and sketched out the basic shapes. I've sketched in as much as I feel comfortable with at that stage; I'll add in more as the painting develops. The shapes are inspired by Kandinsky's in "Capiecious Forms." As I'm working, this idea of "capricious" is tying into the my theme of "dynamic." At this moment, I'm listening to reruns of Ghost Adventures. Go figure.


Next step was painting in the shapes. I used regular acrylics for the main bodies, then Posca acrylic paint pens to add accents, highlights, etc. 


This picture shows a couple of pages from my sketchbook with, not exactly a symbol, but a little icon or motif? One of the things I always end up sketching when I'm stumped on a project or looking to ease into drawing are these little blob creatures. I think the organic forms and lively flow of Kandinsky's "Capricious Forms" reminded me of my little blorps. So I'm going to incorporate these guys into the painting; maybe they're bouncing around on a mircoscope slide or having a blorp house party. As I work further, I'll give them some more things to bounce off of.

Final Painting

Okay. So. Um. Yeah.

Soooo…. I might have started over.

I’ll explain: I started noodling.

I have two types of noodling. 1. Good Noodling, which is me adding the last touches and trying to evaluate if a piece is done or not. 2. Bad Noodling, which is me not quite knowing where I want to go next so insteading of thinking about it some more, I throw everything at the wall to see what sticks.

I Bad Noodled. Hardcore. I threw everything at the wall. And everything stuck. Just not in the “Hey that looks cool!” kind of way.

This is not the first time that I’ve started a piece, really liked it, then noodled it to death. For a long time, I used to be mad at myself for not knowing how to move a painting forward, or in this case, know when to stop moving forward. Like, isn’t this is knowledge magically bestowed on all artists?! (Cue the fairy glitter.)

At the risk of sounding like a motivational speaker, as much as these kind of outcomes on a painting bug me, these are the points where I learn the most. It took me a long time to learn how to look at a failed piece and think about why it didn’t work, then think about how I could do it differently.

Then actually do it.

So, what I liked about the original piece: Some of the basic forms, the colors, the concept.

What I didn’t like: The composition. The massive shape on the left didn’t turn out like I wanted, and I introduced more colors into other elements that just didn’t fit. I also didn’t plan through the “white space” enough. So for the second attempt, I selected a vibrant color palette that I've worked with before. I stuck with the same kind of forms and details that I had planned for the first painting.

Okay, here's the painting version 2.0:

"Caprecious Blorps (or A Riff on Kandinsky)"


I really enjoyed this workshop. While there was some planning that needed to take place, at a pointing in the painting it was fun carving the initial forms into these shapes, refining them, adding details to each one to make it unique while keeping Kandinsky's ideas about form and color in mind.


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