This art activity is based on a Grade 10 assignment I did back in high school. My art teacher gave the class a piece of paper and while she played classical music, we closed our eyes and moved the pencil along the paper, letting the music guide our hand. It was the music that told us what to draw. It was the music that made us feel what we drew. When we finished, we outlined the lines and filled the spaces up with colours and patterns called zentangles. The idea here was to depict a visual representation of what we just listened to.
This activity is very easy and anyone, whether you consider yourself an artist or not, can do it. That’s the beauty of abstract art: there’s really no right or wrong. It’s not supposed to make sense. So if you’re looking for something simple and creative to do with a complex-looking result, you should give this a try.
For this project however, I’m tightening up the “rules” to give my own unique twist and to make it more of a challenge–something different than I’ve already done. Of course, you don’t have to follow everything I say. Feel free to change things up and make this project your own, just like I did!
Since the seasons are constantly changing, school’s almost over (for some, it already is) and summer is around the corner, I decided that the theme for this project will be based on Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. This means that I will be making four abstract drawings that represent a visual interpretations of each song and each season.
I linked my go-to performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” below:
I also copied down the specific times for each season/movement to make things easier, which the creator of this video also provided:
- Spring 00:00
- Summer 10:31
- Autumn 20:59
- Winter 32:48
The tools you’ll need are:
- Hard surface (a desk or a table)
- Thick sharpie
- Music player (with Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”)
- Thin sharpie
- Pencil crayons
Tips to remember:
- You can do this activity on any medium, including canvas! Just remember that whatever medium you choose will affect the kind of tools you can use for decoration.
- If you wish to repeat this activity to create a series of works (like I did), don’t forget that your paper doesn’t have to be the same size every time. You can also change up the orientation or even the shape of the paper to make your finished project aesthetically pleasing. Choose whatever looks good to you.
- You don’t have to choose one of the movements from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” though I highly recommend it if you’re unsure about what song to do.
1. Have a piece of paper and pencil in front of you on a hard surface, like a desk or table. Tape the back of the paper onto the surface to prevent the paper from sliding or slipping.
2. Play the selected song (or any song of your choice really) on whatever music player device you have. Pick a random moment in the song to make your listening spontaneous. If you need help making a decision on which season to use (if you’re listening to Vivaldi), pick your favourite season or the season you were born in.
I chose to start off with Vivaldi’s “Winter” because it’s my favourite movement.
3. Close your eyes and listen to the music. As you listen, move your
pencil lightly on the page. Follow the tempo, move to the beat, do whatever feels natural.
4. Move your pencil for 30 seconds to a minute, or whenever you feel like your masterpiece is complete (you also don’t have to keep moving your pencil the entire time. You can take breaks in between to simply listen before you touch pencil to paper again). Just be careful not to move your pencil for too long or for the entire song, otherwise you may end up with a bunch of tiny scribbles in one spot on the page. Once you’re finished, open your eyes and turn off the music.
5. Take a thick sharpie marker and trace the lines you made. You don’t have to
trace all of them (and if you want to edit or add any lines, go ahead. No one will notice anyways).
6. When you’re finished tracing the lines, erase any leftover pencil marks and remove the tape. Feel free to play around with your paper’s orientation/rotation.
7. Now it’s up to you to choose what happens next. Use markers, pencil crayons,
a thin sharpie–whatever you need to decorate your work of art. If you
listened to Vivaldi, then you can even design your artwork accordingly to that
I chose a range of blues to represent the cold, snow and ice because they remind me of winter. Also, if you haven’t noticed, I rotated my drawing by 90 degrees.
You can even listen to the song you chose while you decorate to give you some inspiration.
And you’re done!
You can repeat these steps three more times to create a drawing for every
season. Then you can frame it all together.
I want to thank my boyfriend for being a good sport. He helped me out by doing “Autumn” and he thought this project was pretty easy to do. He had fun and was even surprised to see his finished product.
I hope you enjoy this little activity that will get you in the artistic and seasonal spirit! If you try this out, send me your pictures with the song title you chose on social media. I would love to see what you come up with!
What’s your favourite season? What’s your favourite song? What is your 2019 Song of the Summer?! Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!