I had an idea to make a valentine inspired by Piet Mondrian's famous Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow. I had so much fun that I ended up making three more, featuring works by Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Wassily Kandinsky. Each is made with different media. I love how they looked grouped together, so I mounted them on black cardstock to display.
"You Are Priceless, Valentine" Heart Art, Inspired by Famous Painters
I call this grouping You Are Priceless, Valentine. Affiliate links below.
Use pencil to trace the heart template onto a square of paper. With the ruler, LIGHTLY draw horizontal lines on the heart, varying the distance between them. Draw vertical lines (and erase horizontal lines as necessary) to divide the spaces into squares and rectangles. Leave 2/3 of the shapes white and color the rest with red, yellow, blue, and black. Trace the pencil lines in black.
Use a pencil to trace the heart template onto a square of paper. With short bold strokes, use the light yellow pastel to rough in the location of the stars, the wind, and the horizon line. Fill in around these features with blues, always using short bold strokes. Add white to the outer edges of the stars and yellows and oranges to the centers and to make the moon. Add black to the shadowy areas, then add white to the wind. Continue layering colors to mimic the look of Van Gogh's work. You may wish to use a spray fixative after you finish to prevent smearing.
(Put down newspaper before using pastels. I had to scrub my table pads afterward.)
Use a pencil to trace the heart template onto a square of paper. With the ruler, divide the heart into squares. I made a lot more than in Kandinsky's work, but you can be more authentic if you prefer. Use watercolor pencils to fill in each square with a different arrangement of concentric circles. When they are all filled in, use a small brush to blend the colors, working around each circle and rinsing the brush frequently.
I did a bunch of research and discovered, among other things, this fascinating article on the fluid dynamics behind Pollock's paintings. Armed with that knowledge, I experimented with a variety of different techniques to achieve a similar look. Feel free to do your own exploration! I recommend placing a sheet of paper into a deep cardboard box, then drizzling thinned acrylic paint onto the paper. After letting the paint set for about 30 minutes, I pressed with with a piece of newspaper to remove the excess paint, then let the painting dry completely. I traced the heart template around my favorite part of the artwork and cut it out, then mounted it to a clean square of paper.
To complete your study, label each piece of art with the artist who inspired it. Then mount the hearts onto black paper.
This was such a fun way to learn more about these four artists and try out new techniques. I encourage you to give it a try! If you have suggestions for other famous paintings that would be awesome as heart art, leave them in the comments.
Cindy deRosier has a masters in Education and taught for 11 years. She uses that experience to blog about kids crafts and family-friendly educational travel. She is the Editor of Fun Family Crafts, a website with over 12,000 kid-friendly craft tutorials. Cindy is the co-author of "What Would Jesus Patent?" and does freelance writing and designing.