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Grids are used in this lesson to create enlarged Mondrian styled paintings from photos




9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Mondrian Painting
By – Mike Spears
Primary Subject – Art
Grade Level – 9-12

Note from Piet Mondrian was a Dutch Impressionist Painter (1872-1944) who was influenced by pointillism, fauvism, and cubism. He is best known for his compositions consisting of black grid-like lines occasionally filled in with red, yellow, and blue rectangles. He began his career as a primary school teacher.

The students will choose a picture, either from a magazine, internet, or from home. The subject matter is up to them, however, the larger the image, the easier the project will be.

Next, the students will grid the picture. I have them use 1/4″ or 1/2″ grid depending on their picture size. It is important that the grid be nice, perfect squares.

Next, a larger piece of paper is used. This should be at least twice as big as their original photo. The students will draw another grid, with the same number of squares as their grid marked photo only bigger. For example, if they used 1/4″ squares on the photo, they can use 1/2″ or 3/4″ squares, whatever will fit the paper. Basically they are enlarging the photo, but with a twist.

Here comes the twist – In each square, paint the most dominant color they see in that square on the original photo. They will only be painting squares, no curves, outlines, diagonals, etc. If more detail is desired in a particular area, they can divide up the square into smaller squares, such as for an eye. It is important for the students to try and match colors to the original, especially if there are value changes, such as skin colors.

This should look like a pixilated picture, like when a small picture from the internet is printed bigger. This is also an excellent lesson for all kids because they don’t have to be able to draw to do this, only be able to paint squares.

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