Making Hangable Kid Art: A Soft Approach to Mondrian

(Welcome again to Jackie who is trying out for a spot on the Ohdeedoh editorial team.
Comments are welcome.)

While sticking with the characteristic use of the geometric grid that Mondrian mastered, we switched up his typical palette. Instead of applying his signature opaque primary colors we used softer colors and added texture using watercolor paints. Depending on the age of the child helping in this project, together you can practice naming shapes, using a ruler, and understanding the idea of “parallel lines”. Once the grid is done, it’s fun and easy to paint for everyone. And if all goes well, you can toss it in a frame, and spruce up a wall with something personal.

• Thin masking tape
• A hard board/table to tape down your work while it dries
• Pencil, ruler, circular template and scissors
• Watercolor paints, jar of water and a brush
• Watercolor paper
• Water spritzer bottle
• Big black marker

1. Tape down the edges of the watercolor paper onto a hard surface. This allows the piece to dry flat.

2. Draw your grid with pencil and ruler. Include as many squares and rectangles as you like, different sizes, and tossing in a circle or triangle here and there. Tape the lines of your grid. If it’s too difficult to tape the outside of a shape, the circle for example, simply leave it for free-handing later.

3. Choose your palette. Typically Mondrian kept the palette pretty simple; black and white plus 3 colors. We chose various grays, black and white plus 2 colors. You may want to consider your decor if you plan on framing it.

4. Now it’s time to paint. When you are done, if you want more texture, spritz some water lightly over your work and let dry thoroughly.

5. Once the paper is completely dry (may take several hours). Peel the tape off carefully, away from the edges of the painted shapes. Pull the top edge of the tape downwards and the bottom edge upwards in small sections. This helps prevent the tape from taking more paper [and therefore paint] than it needs to.

6. Fill in the freshly revealed white grid with a big black marker.

7. Touch up any tape-peeling mishaps with a slightly wet brush.