Well, I was scrolling through t-shirt designs on the threadless website and came across an image that immediately made me both smile and want to revisit Mondrian's visual vocabulary. It was a design by San Diego's own Philip Tseng.
Same vocabulary of line, shape, and color, with a few added visual hooks to get my young ones engaged. Score!
I briefly showed the classes some of Philip's illustration work from his website and we noticed that many of his images use contour lines. When we got to the monkey bars image we also talked about the use of simple shapes, vertical and horizontal lines, and primary colors in art.
I have a Mondrian reproduction in the front of my room, so we also talked about how Philip modified the concept of paintings that were made almost one hundred years ago.
This is how the hands on project went-
1. Drew a large rectangle and then added a few vertical horizontal & vertical lines. Some were short and some were long.
2. Added contour line joints where lines met.
3. Added 3 or 4 shapes inside the squares/rectangles present in the monkeybars.
4. Added different expressive faces and limbs to each of those new shapes.
5. traced the monkeybar lines with a black marker and filled in the joints.
6. Used primary colors to fill in our characters.
7. Added a ground line and colored the ground.
The kids loved it.