A place you've never seen

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Take a walk through this picture! Wassily Kandinsky painted it just for your adventure. Make your way up that steep striped road, grab onto the short black stripes, and haul yourself onto the green roof. At its peak, lean back and feel the refreshing flow of the wriggly river. Now tumble onto the sunny green slope and romp with wild eyebrows and rolling lights. Ooops! You've slipped on the glass tile floor and slid right down to those stone peaks! But wait! The shining light-beam of a pale glass square has turned you into a robed triangle. You soar into the black night where the city bobs on the waves.

Have you ever seen a place like this before? You have now! Even though it was invisible before. It was inside Kandinsky's thoughts.

Kandinsky was one of the first artists to paint like this. It was very brave of him. But painting was his happiness, the greatest joy of his life. Making the usual pictures that just described a place or a person just couldn't match the wonder and magnificence he felt in the whole universe. Over many years of very hard work and very hard thinking he discovered that colors and lines and forms had a life all their own. And if you put them together carefully, all sorts of new places come to life, full of sunlight and laughter, darkness and quiet, mystery and silliness.

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It's like music. We don't ever see music, but it can make us excited or thoughtful, make us want to dance or want to dream. These paintings are places we've never seen, but walking through them we feel his excitement, his wonder.

You can do this! You, too, can be a great artist who makes invisible feelings visible. How? Draw a picture that you like to draw a lot. Maybe with a house. Swings. A friend. A cat. Maybe you like to put the blue sky up there. And the green grass down there. And, of course, the sun. (You probably do this first. So do I.) Now. Cut out all those things. Get a bigger piece of paper.

We'll call this paper ``My Invisible World.'' Now think about the feelings you have for each of those things that you cut out; feelings that are usually invisible to everyone else. Is the house a very noisy, rushing around place? Maybe you could paste it on your invisible world as the head of a rock with orange and red blasting out of it. Or maybe it's a quiet place and needs to float on a gray-blue cloud. When you swing, do you feel like a bird flying? Maybe you'll paste your swings on the sky. (It would give the people walking around your world a place to sit down and admire your moons!)

And maybe the sky is something to slide on, and the grass, soft and sweet, becomes the shape of another friend. And when all your drawings are pasted down and painted around, you may want to put in things that tell people how much time they have to take the walk. Some night skies, some day skies, some suns and moons, and a rainbow thrown in should do the trick. And what else? Maybe one of those moons is shaped like a smile. Better paint in a toothbrush so it remembers to keep clean!

Do you see why Kandinsky loved this new way of painting? Why it made him feel so happy and free? He said if a picture takes you to a place you've never been to before, what more could you ever ask for?

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