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Level: Junior, Middle School, High School
Grades: Gr 3 - 12 | Age: 8yrs and up | Written by: Andrea Mulder-Slater
[Andrea is one of the creators of]

Learn how to make a painting in the style of artist Piet Mondrian.


Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter who was born in 1872. At one time, Mondrian painted realistic landscapes, but as he painted more and more, his style began to change. He started to create abstract images... much like the Mondrian-style paintings you see here on this page. How did he come to paint this way? Well, the more Mondrian looked at trees, buildings and vases, the more he saw their basic shapes and colors. You can try this too... just squint your eyes while you are looking at something and all the details will start to disappear. You will see only shapes and color... no real objects. This is what Mondrian did.

Eventually, Mondrian's style consisted of geometric shapes and primary colors. After all, every shape can be created from the basic geometric shapes and every color can be created from the primaries - red, yellow and blue.

I've written a brief introduction to Mondrian and his changing painting style at my Art History site:

Now it's your turn to create a Mondrian style painting.

What You Need:

**You could use crayons or pencil crayons or markers instead... you don't have to make a painting you can make a Mondrian style drawing.

What You Do:
  1. First draw your lines on the paper using your straight edge. You can put your lines anywhere you want but here is a general guide:
  2. *divide your paper up by drawing draw six horizontal lines from one end of the paper to the other _______

    *next draw four vertical lines |||| again, make sure your lines go from one end of your paper to the other.

  3. When your lines have been drawn, use either black paint or a black marker to darken them up. Make some lines thick and some lines thin.
  4. Now you should have a grid with lots of empty spaces.
  5. Choose just a few spaces to fill in with the primary colors - red, yellow and blue
  6. Don't overdo the color ... leave a lot of white space (just as the examples here show. The key is to keep it simple.
  7. That's all there is to it!

More Mondrian Art Lesson Plans

Students will create Mondrian-inspired abstract art using crayons and paper. From Cheryl Trowbridge. [read more]

Students will learn about geometric shapes and color as they create a construction paper picture in the style of Piet Mondrian. By: Kristen Peery. [read more]

Recommended Books/Products:

My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Paint!
Creating with strings, fingers, rollers, straws, and other super techniques: no wonder this entry in Lark's fabulous new art series will have kids saying "I love to paint!"

Painting with Children
Painting with Children contains sections on the "moral effects of color," the experience of colors, preparation, color stories and poems, panting with plant colors, painting the moods and seasons of nature, and much more.

The Science Book of Color
by Neil Ardley
This book explains the principles of color and gives instructions for a variety of simple experiments.

My First Paint Book
by Dawn Sirett
Twenty-two activities, from stenciled boxes to T-shirt designs, are presented along with step-by-step, full-color photographs and clear instructions, in a visual introduction to making and decorating things with paint.

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