Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Art Class for Children: Create your First Abstract Painting

Creating abstract art at an early age opens creative channels for future creative expression. Such artistic freedom enables children to explore artistic techniques that aid hand-to-eye coordination and colour experimentation without the painting having to ‘look’ like something.

Art Activities for Children

Criss-cross Explosion by
Joseph Busby (5)
Abstract painting need not be restricted to post compulsory art schools. Children of any age can explore line and colour for its own sake. Every random line possesses visual energy at various points. Focal points can be created by a splash of colour here, a bizarre shape there. Children may also explore how emotions can be evoked by colour and/or shape, as well as making random associations.
Colours used in Abstract Art

The inclusion of bright coloured pigments within the colour range is important for colour mixing good secondary colours. Useful pigments are: primary red, yellow and blue (cadmium yellow pale, crimson lake and pthalo blue will result in good colour mixes.) Useful others are ultramarine, bright green, black and burnt sienna (or any good earth colour). Acrylics are water soluble paints that dry water resistant. Synthetic sable brushes that allow paint manipulation without too much cost. Size ranging from 6 to 12 would be suitable for detail and for large areas of paint.

Mark Making with Paint

Other mark making implements will encourage exploration: old toothbrushes, combs, sponges, stamps and even hands. Stencils of everyday objects can be used: coins, hands, rings, scissors or rulers. String can be placed at random on the page and children can trace the lines. To spur inspiration, provide imagery of abstract art by such expressionists as Kokoschka, Kandinsky, Picasso and Miro.

Art Lesson Plan on Abstract Art for Beginners

The teacher may explain to children that not all art need to be representational. Some art use line and colour to symbolize an emotion, a sensation, a memory or an object. Children might be asked to think about how colour and line can evoke associations with something, starting with the obvious, which might be:

Red: warmth, fire, sunsets, anger, houses.
Blue: sky, holidays, sea, freedom, freshness, coolness, summer.
Zigzag lines: icebergs, rhythm, loudness, electricity, explosion.
Swirly lines: calm, travelling, water, reflections, soothing.

Children are encouraged to make any association as they like and to swap ideas. These associations may be kept in mind as the children begin their artwork but the painting need not mean anything at this stage; the aim is simply to render line and colour onto the paper.

Lesson Plan on Abstract Art for Kids

Some children will require more encouragement than others to begin an abstract painting. The following steps will help.
  1. To help those that do not know where to begin, place string onto the page and get children to trace the resultant lines. Place stencils at random areas of the paper and draw around them. Other children may draw freehand if they wish.
  2. Enclosed shapes created by stencils or random lines may be filled in with solid colour, stippled over, smudged or applied impasto.
  3. Encourage children to take stock now and again to evaluate the effects they are getting by their colour choices and line shapes. For instance, when bright colours are placed side by side, they cause a focal point. Focal points can also be created by: contrasting tones, patterns, the intersection of lines, a splash of bright colour, the inclusion of an odd shape or anything rarified.
  4. Encourage children to pay attention to the largest areas of the painting, which could get overlooked. What colour is it to be? Can it be broken down? Can it be cut out? Encourage children to cover as much of the paper as possible.
  5. Point out any challenges that may result from the children’s colour choices and composition. For instance, if there are a lot of shall shapes in one area to be colourd in, or a large area that lacks visual interest.
An Abstract Art Lesson

Once the session is over, children may look at their creations. They may think about: which part of the painting draws the eye? Why does it draw the eye? (The answer may be found in the points above). Are the colours warm or cool? Are they dark or pale? Are the lines smooth or jagged? Do the shapes evoke anything? Do the colours evoke a mood or sensation? This may be referred to in the exercise regarding colour/line associations earlier. Is there any part of the painting the child would do differently and why?

Abstract Art for Children

Learning about abstract art from a young age will help open up creative channels when it comes to artistic expression. Guarding against the rigorous view that only figurative art rendered well is acceptable can more easily be challenged as the children’s artistic perception develops and they continue to explore how paint can be applied in an abstract way.

Articles on Art Exploration

How to paint alla prima
How to mix colours you want
Step by step on painting strawberries


  1. Abstract painting artist aims to reach exciting compositions by managing the colors, lines and platform without the need to utilize the appearances of the objects, nature and living things. With this tough art it is possible to create mind-blowing expressions with the usage of color spots, lines, shapes and with the possibilities of different usages of colors. Just like the ability of the music compositor's to express his or her feelings in the form of a song by using the independent notes.

    Secondary O'Level Art Class

  2. Thanks for comment! True, as is often the case, too much emphasis upon representational art can be offputting for those who simply wish to explore line and colour in its purest form and also to express emotion in art. It also helps encourage creativity.