Copy Famous Paintings – Wassily Kandinsky


What is it?

A painting, “Houses in Munich“, 1908 by Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky

How was this painting done?

Kandinsky blocked in the larger areas in bright colours and then touched up these areas with different tones of those same colours at the end.  The result is a patchwork of bright colours which both convey the emotions of the artist and make a picture.

The most striking effect in this painting is the orange sky which gives the feeling of a sunset throwing reflected light on the brightened buildings.   Kandinsky paints the foreground in warm colours to move the cool coloured buildings behind it.

Why Should We Care?

Kandinsky set out to convey universal human emotions and ideas by using blocks of vibrant colour.  His work became more and more abstract in order to transcend cultural and physical boundaries.

Kandinsky believed musicians could evoke images in listeners’ minds merely with sounds.  He also believed the reverse, that artists could evoke sounds and emotions in the viewers’ minds with images and colour. This was new and controversial thinking at the time and resulted in some scratching their head in bewilderment.

Where can I find more paintings like it?

Similarities can be seen in Mont St Victoire, 1895 by Paul Cezanne.

Cezanne has divided the scene into blocks of colour although not quite as bright as the Kandinsky  painting above. Houses in Munich”  which was done 13 years later and is much more adventurous with colour.

American artist Hans Hoffman seems to have drawn heavily from Kandinsky’s early work and this can be seen in “Equipoise”, 1958.  Large blocks of colour push and pull the warm colours forward while the cooler colours recede giving depth to the painting.  The result is a confusion of shapes moving in space.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself, here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark watercolour crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • two or three hours

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured watercolour crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is okay for the watercolour crayon mark to bleed into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • The painting will not look great at the initial blocking in stage, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • acrylics dry darker than the mixed colour

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.  It’s your painting after all!


I also posted on how to paint watercolours to music after Wassily Kandinsky some years ago.

Image of original from, accessed 13/11/2016

3 thoughts on “Copy Famous Paintings – Wassily Kandinsky

  1. Thank you. It is interesting to note, most of the great masters featured so far thought very differently and challenged the status quo.


  2. Pingback: 21 is your lucky number! 21 famous paintings for you to copy… | Zen School for Creative People

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