As part of the Paint Yourelf Happy Challenge, I wanted to give you a little more  on Wassily Kandinsky and his abstract paintings, because as a former art teacher, I love to talk art history! Please read on if you are intersted in a little more background for this week's Paint Yourself Happy Challenge. 

Wassily Kandinsky is generally known as one of the pioneers of abstract art. He was an artist and often a philospher of sorts, writing his well known short book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art. He was born in 1866, in Moscow, grew up in Ukraine and eventually settled in Germany. He taught at the Bauhaus School of Archintecture from 1922 until it was closed by the Nazi's in 1933. His ideas of art, elements of art and compsoiton, as well as his abstract compsotions, are influenced by this Bahaus style of thinking and creating. 

"Our hearing of colours is so precise ... Colour is a means of exerting a direct influence upon the soul. Colour is the keyboard. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano with its many strings. The artist is the hand that purposely sets the soul vibrating by means of this or that key. Thus it is clear that the harmony of colours can only be based upon the principle of purposefully touching the human soul."

One thing I find so interesting about Kandinsky is the influence of music on his artwork. He was a fan of classical music and claimed to have synesthesia, in which he heard color as sounds, as sounds as color. This seems to have been a very fashionable thing for artists and writers of his time, and either way it is an interesting concept for an artist to use as inspiration. 

So this week for the #paintyourselfhappychallenge, we are exploring sound as visual images. What would jazz music look like as colors and shapes and marks on paper? What would religious hymns look like? How about nature sounds or your favorite rock band? I prefer to do this with music that has no words. I also like to choose a few very different peices of music. Think about what calls to you that day, and do some exploring. Use resouces like Youtube.com, archive.org or your local libray to research music that may be differnet from your usual picks. Choose music from other countries or cultures, or look into music from other eras. 

For supplies, I like to have a small stack of paper readily available. It doesn't need to be artist grade paper, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Use loose sheets of paper or watercolor blocks for this, as we may use some of these paintings next week for another prompt. This is a great time to use paper like Canson XL or other student grade paper, or experiment with whatever you have on hand.

As for colors, it really is about what makes you happy! As for me, I started with a basic set of 7 colors and a palette for mixing so I felt like I had a good amount of colors to choose from while not being overwhelmed. If there are colors you associate with certain styles of music, use them! Play around with other materials too, I used inks and pencils in my painting this week as well. 

To paint, choose a song to start with. You can listen to more if you prefer, but I find you need at least one song to give you enough information to create. Spend the first few seconds just listening, then begin painting intuitively. Make washes, mix colors, put down a color palette if you find that helpful. Use the color combos or textures you may have come up with from previous weeks or start anew. Add circles, marks, patterns or repeating symbols, whatever pops into your head at the time. Try not to judge your work while painting and listening, just let it flow. Remind ou rself you will look at it later. These are just rough drafts or sketches for now. You can relisten to the song if you'd like but you don't need to. Finish up you rpaintingby adding any remainng neccesary marks or colors. 

Make a few paintings this way while listening to a few different pieces of music. You choose however many paintings feel right to you. After you have these quick painting/sketches, take a moment to relly look at them.  Think about what you like and don't like. What colors or marks are you drawn to? 

If you'd like, create a more finished painting that uses bits and peices from your sketches. Maybe the colors from one and the texture from another? Feel free to relisten to the music and add more  in your more finished painting. You can also incorporate pen or ink if you'd like. It is all up to you and what makes you happy.