Mrs. White Hearts Art

Making Kandinsky circles
Fall 2013: Making Kandinsky Circles

One of the benefits of being an elementary art teacher is watching as my young students explore the world through art. Sometimes it’s not the finished product that’s significant, but rather the actual experience of making art. For this reason, I always urge my students to try new things and not be focused on making something “perfect.”

Each new school year, I have the opportunity to witness the joy that containers of paint and brushes can bring to children as they explore with mixing paint while marveling as new colors form in front of their eyes. The look of wonder on their faces and cheers of excitement as they work through the creative process is the most beloved part of my job.

This project was inspired by one of my favorite paintings: “Squares with Concentric Circles” by Wassily Kandinsky. It is so much fun to watch as my first grade students have fun spotting the different circles and colors in the painting and then create a similar piece of art. Children of all ages can participate by using various types of media, including crayons or even fingerpaint!

Inspired by: Wassily Kandinsky

Adapted for: Ages 3 –7

Objective: Color Mixing

  • Square paper (we used 9″x9″)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Palette (or paper plate)
  • Water and container
  • Tempera, acrylic, or watercolor paint
  1. Study Kandinsky’s “Squares with Concentric Circles” together and have the child look for large and small circles as well as O’s or donut shapes. Discuss what colors you see.
  2. Fold your paper in half two times and open up. You will see that you have created 4 squares.
  3. Squirt several colors of paint onto paper plate or palette.
  4. In each square, have the child begin by painting a small circle in the center of one of the top squares. Paint a circle using a different color around the first circle.
  5. Continue painting circles around each other until they touch the side of the square. Don’t be afraid to let the circles touch and the colors combine to make new ones. Explore with warm colors (red, orange, yellow) and cool colors (blue, green, purple).
  6. Fill in the background of the square until there is no white space left.
  7. Repeat in the 3 remaining squares.

Don’t be afraid to explore and try new color combinations to see which ones you like best. And most importantly, have fun!

There is no must in art because art is free.

—Wassily Kandinsky

Jessica White
About author:

Jessica White is a K–5 art teacher for the Republic R-III School District. For more art project ideas, visit her blog at

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