How to Paint like Kandinsky with the Tate

by Cass Art

The Tate share with us how to paint like Kandinsky! Wassilly Kandinsky was a Russian painter and early champion of abstract painting - a painter of sound and vision watch the video below from our friends at the Tate to learn how to paint your very own abstract masterpiece!  

What you'll need:


Colour is a power which directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the strings.The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. Wassily Kandinsky


Step One: Make a Sketch


Choose your inspiration, a few photographs may work best. Sui chose some photographs of South Korea, where she grew up, which represented a time of change and excitement in her life. Draw some sketches to map out your painting. What aspects of your photographs do you want to focus on? Which bits do you want to highlight?

Step Two: Apply the Base Layer


Mix some very pale colours, to cover the white canvas. Add some medium, to dilute your paint and create a thinner texture to you base layer. Apply the paint quite freely, leaving some gaps. Remember to clean your brushes between applying each colour and wipe any excess water onto some kitchen paper.

Step Three: Apply the Second Layer


Once the paint is dry you can begin to add the second layer. Again mix your colour with some medium to make sure it spreads over the canvas. Don’t worry too much about filling those gaps and let them layer up.

Step Four: The Outline


Lay the canvas flat. This allows you to apply a thinner textured paint. Use black paint thinned down with some medium, to create a similar effect to the bold lines Kandinsky used in Cossacks. Think about keeping things minimal. Simplify the elements of your photograph. Then take a break, to let your outline fully dry before applying the next layer of colour.

Step Five: Add in Colour


Work with each colour individually, building the layers. This also stops the paint drying out on the pallet. Sui chose her colours based on the colours in Cossacks but you can use other colours if you so wish. While the canvas is still flat, apply any thinner layers of colour that could drip or bleed. Let this dry before standard the canvas up again.

Step Six: Final Touches


Stand back from your painting and think about how it could be improved. Go over some of the black lines which you think need to be a little bolder. Use thinned down white paint to highlight the main figures in your painting.

Feeling Inspired?


Shop online for everything you'll need. Don't forget to hashtag #cassart on social media to show us your creations.

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