What’s the Sound of Color? Kandinsky and Music


This activity is a combination of presentation of the work of Kandinsky and give guidelines on how to create a picture understanding and using his techniques simplified.

Duration: 60 – 90 min.

Number of participants: 5 – 20


  • to understand how Kandinsky saw sound and heard colors
  • to draw an art piece inspired by Kandinsky


  • computer and stable internet connection
  • paper (A4 or another format)
  • permanent marker (to draw the lines and shapes)
  • coloring pencils
  • watercolors


The facilitator should make a brief introduction to Kandinsky’s work and the condition he was experiencing, known as synesthesia. Besides using the text bellow, they can also show this video if needed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xDnxkzQtdI&ab_channel=ListeningIn.

The facilitator can choose if they will show the photos of the steps in the drawing that can be found below or draw at the same time and present a live video to the participants while drawing.

Kandinsky was a Russian-born painter, famous in the early 20th century for being one of the pioneers of abstract art, at least in western civilization. Something that’s really interesting about Kandinsky aside from his contributions to abstract art was that he experienced a condition known as synesthesia. Synesthesia is this condition where certain senses are sort of joined and linked,  so when he heard music he saw colors and when he was painting he heard music, even if there was none playing.

So color was really important to him, and he focused a lot on color. Of course, color is just one of the elements of art, and in his work, Kandinsky was really focused on all the elements. He used a variety of not just colors, but also shapes.

He thought about how geometric shapes like squares, rectangles, triangles, those neat and precisely defined shapes,  as well as organic shapes the curvy, irregular shapes we see in nature could work together to create a harmonious composition. He also focused on the element of line. We see lots of different types of line designs in his work.

For our project, we’re going to make an abstract composition inspired by the work of Wassily Kandinsky. When we use the word composition what we are talking about is the arrangement of all the different

elements within a work of art. The elements of art are the building blocks of art: lines, colors, shapes, and textures.

So, we’re going to focus on lines, shapes, and colors for this design. What we want to see are different weights of lines, thick and thin lines.

We want to see different types of shapes, geometric and organic shapes. Geometric shapes are those neat and precisely defined shapes like squares, circles, triangles and organic shapes are the curvy irregular shapes we see in nature. So a variety of lines a, variety of shapes, and also a variety of colors. Try to think about how those different colors can work together. Kandinsky talked about colors in musical terms, you might think about different colors coming together like notes coming together to make a chord in music the way they harmonize.

So you want to think about colors that are going to look good together. Try mixing colors that are next to each other in the rainbow, as analogous colors tend to blend well together. Whereas if we are trying to make certain shapes stand out, we try to put opposite colors next to each other.

For this project, we want to see an abstract composition combining a variety of different

lines, shapes, and colors. Think about how you’re arranging those things:  have some things that are

overlapping, have big, medium, and small shapes; light, medium, and dark colors; different weights

of lines – thick lines and thin lines. Create variety within your composition.

After the presentation, the facilitator guides the participants to draw their own pictures, giving them instructions as above, following their work and giving feedback and suggestions.

Expected outcomes:

  • Participants expressed themselves creatively
  • Each participant draw their own art piece inspired by Kandinsky
  • Participants improved their drawing skills
  • Participants understood the relation between shapes, colors, and sounds that Kandinsky used in his artworks.