Underestimating Mondrian

MondrianDishAs part of a Skillshare class again, Abstract Art With A Twist: Personalize Mondrian, I reexamined my misconceptions about Piet Mondrian. I’ve dabbled in other projects that played around with his look, this bowl in glass was one of my favourites.

But glass scraps are very different than paint as I learned.

3af36da1The project for the class was to reinterpret a portion of Mondrian’s Composition X, limiting our palette to just three colours, not including black. So I used black paper strips for a window to isolate sections of the painting just to see what jumped out at me. I had an idea about personalization so I was looking for a section with a lot of intersections and lines, very busy.

3af36da1portionThis was the section that I liked the most. I thought about playing around with the palette while I pondered and sketched but I kind of liked how the deeper white and black sections mellowed the contrast between the blue and yellow. I think there might be 2 different types of white in the section that I’d isolated but I planned on just sticking to one.

Because making a musical selection worked so well for the Kandinsky class, I dug out my longest Thelonius Monk album to work along to. He was a favorite of Mondrian’s so I’m hoping that it works for me!

BOLD and BALANCED was what I was going for.


IMG_0080I sketched in my canvas, the proportions are a wee bit different but it’s not appreciable at this size really.

I finally got down to actually painting and I had a lot of fun with the process. I think I’ve always looked at Mondrian paintings as being really simple, more like screenprints really, but having read a little more about him and watching the videos and, more importantly, trying to use the same technique, I have a whole new appreciation for what went into those colored blocks.

IMG_0085Taping lets me get as fussy as I want ;D

I also have to admit that, seeing it with the black lines finished like that, I was tempted to just leave it without personalizing it. There’s a lot of depth, especially in the white (not the most flattering light in the photo).IMG_0089


When I’m learning about a new person, I like to read quotes. “Curves are so emotional.” packs a lot of punch for such a short phrase and I rolled it around in my head a lot. I had originally thought to use really curved and rounded letters to contrast with the straight on lines, perhaps following a curved path that maybe wove in and out of the frame. I didn’t really like it when I took a look.

I started playing around with straight lines for. a while, changing the case and pushing them together. I think I was trying to fit them into the largest of the blue rectangles but it was not working for me. The layout of those particular words did fit well when I incorporated the second rectangle though so I went ahead and added them.

StraightFontI liked the texture that it seemed to add to the block but it wasn’t really working for me and I couldn’t tell why so I left it on the easel for a few days to see if anything jumped out at me.

And then one time that I was pondering it, the smaller rectangles in the text started popping out at me. I got the paints out again and it all came together. I actually really like it.

Abstract Art With A Twist: Personalize Mondrian



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