PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian

Students use markers to create 9 line designs based on specific criteria, and then analyse the designs.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9

Subject

Language Arts
Mathematics
Visual Arts

Vocabulary

analyse characteristic line line of symmetry mirror reflection neo-plasticism

Materials

Markers - Broad Line and Fine Line Rulers Drawing Paper - 12.5 cm x 12.5 cm (5" x 5") - enough for 9 pieces for each student Construction Paper

Steps

PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step One

Step One

  1. Make a dot close to the corner near the outer edge of the paper.
  2. Draw straight lines from the dot to the outside edges of the paper.
  3. Make the spaces between the lines fairly even and close together. 
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Make 2 dots not too close together and near the outer edges of the paper.
  2. Draw straight lines from the dots to the outside edges of the paper.
  3. Make the spaces between the lines fairly even and close together. 
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Imagine a line of symmetry dividing the paper in half.
  2. Place your marker on the outside edge of the paper and near the line of symmetry.
  3. Draw a wavy line beside the line of symmetry from one side of the paper to the other.
  4. Repeat this line over and over again until you fill one half of the paper.
  5. Draw the mirror reflection of the first line on the other side of the line of symmetry.
  6. Repeat this line over and over again until you fill the other half of the paper.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Start near one corner of the paper.
  2. Draw a wiggly line that travels all over the paper but does not touch or cross over itself.
  3. Make the line start and finish at the outer edge of the paper.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Press a scissors blade into the end of a wedge tip marker to make a small indent.
  2. The marker will make a double line.
  3. Start at one side of the paper and draw a wavy, double line to the opposite side.
  4. Draw a similar line parallel to the first one.
  5. Continue drawing similar lines parallel to each other until you fill the paper.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use only wavy lines.
  2. Use thick lines and thin lines.
  3. Make all the lines start at one edge of the paper and finish at the opposite edge. 
  4. Use different colours.
  5. Do not let the lines touch or cross over each other.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Use only straight lines.
  2. Use thick lines and thin lines.
  3. Make the lines change direction.
  4. Make all the lines start and finish at the outer edges of the paper.
  5. Use one colour.
  6. Do not let the lines touch or cross over each other.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Use wavy and straight lines.
  2. Use thick lines and thin lines.
  3. Make lines change direction.
  4. Make all the lines start and finish at the outer edges of the paper.
  5. Use different colours.
  6. Do not let lines touch or cross over each other.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Use free flowing, energetic lines.
  2. Use thick lines and thin lines.
  3. Use different colours.
  4. Make the lines change direction.
  5. Let the lines touch and cross over each other.
  6. Do not let the lines touch the outer edges of the paper.
PLAYING WITH LINES – Elements of Art, Piet Mondrian - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Glue or tape all 9 designs to a piece of construction paper. Try different arrangements before fastening them to the paper, for example,
    - beside each other in a long, horizontal row of 9
    - in three rows of 3
    - beneath each other in a long, vertical row of 9

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify 5 characteristics of lines;
  2. Create 9 line designs based on specific criteria; 
  3. Analyse the designs focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines;
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; and 
  5. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.

 

Extensions

Have students:

  1. Find examples of artworks that emphasize lines and patterns, for example, 
    Pottery
    Mehndi
    Kandinsky1
    Kandinsky-Yellow-Red-Blue
  2. Work in small groups to share their findings and analyse the works.
  3. Use the artworks as inspiration for their own creations.
  4. Work together to create a display of their artwork.

Prepare

  1. Gather, and make available, books about Mondrian, for example, Mondrian, by Alberto Busignan; Mondrian, by Susanne Deicher; and Piet Mondrian: Life and Work, by Marty Bax et al.
  2. Download and display the Line and Colour posters available on this website.
    Posters
  3. Download several images by Piet Mondrian from the Internet, for example,
    Gray Tree
    Composition IV
    Composition With Yellow, Blue, Red
    Tableau I
  4. Cut paper 12.5 cm x 12.5 cm (5" x 5") - enough for 9 per student.

Introduction

  1. Review, or introduce the idea of Elements of Art, the building blocks of visual art – line, colour, shape, texture, space, and form.
  2. Review, or introduce characteristics of lines.
      DIRECTION – Lines can travel in any direction, leading your eye from place to place.
      WIDTH – Lines can be thick, thin, thick and thin.
      LENGTH – Lines can be long or short.
      FOCUS – Lines can be sharp, or blurry.
      FEELING – Lines can create different emotions and moods. 
  3. Introduce Piet Mondrian, an artist who is famous for his use of line.
  4. View and discuss one of the Mondrian paintings, for example, Yellow, Blue Red. Ask students:
    - What do you think is happening here?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    -
    What characteristics of lines do you notice?
    - How do the lines contribute to the mood of the painting?
  5. View the remaining paintings and discuss Piet Mondrian, and how his work changed over time.
    - born in the Netherlands - March 7, 1872 
    his early work was naturalistic and impressionist
    - he was interested in the whole idea of painting and how to remove the non-essential elements 
    - went to Paris where he was influenced by Picasso and cubism and all the new 'avant garde' ideas in modern art
    - his work became more and more abstract
    - he called his style neo-plasticism, which means 'new art' - used colour, line and form in their purest form - only straight, horizontal or vertical lines, only primary or non-colours, only squares or rectangles
    - he is thought of as one of the greatest of modern artists
    - moved to New York in 1940 where he continued to refine his style
    - died February 1, 1944
  6. Introduce the challenge.

Activities

The Challenge

  1. Identify 5 characteristics of lines.
  2. Create 9 line designs based on specific criteria. 
  3. Analyse the designs focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity. 
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when:
    - each line design fits the criteria
    - all 9 designs are completed with care
    - I can identify characteristics of lines
    - I can analyse the designs focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines
    - the paper is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.

Sharing

  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why
    - analyse the designs focusing on the 5 characteristics of lines – DIRECTION, WIDTH, LENGTH, FOCUS, FEELING 

    - talk about what they found satisfying about doing this project
    - talk about how they might use what they learned in a different way
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.

Assessment

  1. Observe students as they work  – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – PlayingWithLines_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – PlayingWithLines_self-assessment.pdf)