Generating Abstract Paintings in Kandinsky Style






  • This paper presents a recent project on automatic generation of Kandinsky style of abstract paintings using the programming language Processing. It first offers an analysis of Kandinsky’s paintings based on his art theories and the author’s own understanding and observation. The generation process is described in details and sample generated images styled on four of Kandinsky’s paintings are also demonstrated and discussed. Our approach is highly scalable, limited only by the memory space set in Processing. Using random generation, every styled image generated can be unique. A selection of the images generated in the required resolution is also submitted and 70 images are made into a video companion.

View Full Paper:


  • [1] L. Ammeraal and K. Zhang, Computer Graphics for Java Programmers, Second Edition, John-Wiley & Sons, 2007.

    [2] M.F. Barnsley, Fractals Everywhere, Morgan Kaufmann, 1993.

    [3] V.E. Barnett and P.H. Barnett, The Originality of Kandinsky’s Compositions, The Visual Computer, Vo.5, No.4, July, 1989, 203-213.

    [4] U. Becks-Malorny, Wassily Kandinsky – The Journey to Abstraction, Benedikt Taschen, 1994.

    [5] M. Fogleman, Procedurally Generating Images in the Style of Piet Mondrian,
    generating-images-in-the-style-of-piet, 2011.

    [6] P. Haeberli, Paint by Numbers: Abstract Image Representations, SIGGRAPH’90, Dallas, 6-10 August 1990.

    [7] A. Ione, Kandinsky and Klee: Chromatic Chords, Polyphonic Painting and Synesthesia, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol.11, No. 3-4, 2004, 148-58.

    [8] W. Kandinsky, Composición VIII. 1923. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

    [9] W. Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, (originally published in 1914) translated with an introduction by M.T.H. Sadler, Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1977.

    [10] W. Kandinsky, Point and Line to Plane, (originally published in 1926) translated by H. Dearstyne and H. Rebay, Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1979.

    [11] J.L. Kirsch and R.A. Kirsch, The Anatomy of Painting Style: Description with Computer Rules, Leonardo, Vol. 21, No. 4, 1988, 437-444.

    [12] A.M. Noll, Human or Machine: A Subjective Comparison of Piet Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Lines’ and a Computer– Generated Picture, The Psychological Record, Vol. 16. No. 1, January 1966, 1-10.

    [13] C.B. Price, From Kandinsky to Java (The Use of 20th Century Abstract Art in Learning Programming), ITALICS, Vo.6, No.4, October 2007, 35-50.

    [14] C. Reas and B. Fry, Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists, 2007, The MIT Press.

    [15] S.S. Snibbe and G. Levin, Interactive Dynamic Abstraction, Proc.1st Int. Symp. on Non-photorealistic Animation and Rendering (NPAR’00), Annecy France, 2000, 21-29.

    [16] R.P. Taylor, Order in Pollock’s Chaos, Scientific American, December 2002, 116-121.

    [17] R.P. Taylor, A.P. Micolich, and D. Jones, The Construction of Pollock’s Fractal Drip Paintings, Leonardo Vol. 35, 2002, 203.

    [18] R.P. Taylor, Pollock, Mondrian and Nature: Recent Scientific Investigation, Chaos and Complexity Letters 1, 2004, 29.

    [19] G.R. Thompson, The Art of Authorial Presence: Hawthorne’s Provincial Tales, Duke University Press, 1993, p.21.

    [20] K. Zhang, From Abstract Painting to Information Visualization, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, May/June 2007, 12-16.

    [21] K. Zhang, S. Harrell, and X. Ji, Computational Aesthetics – On Complexity of Computer-Generated Paintings, Leonardo Journal, MIT Press, June 2012, Vol. 45, No. 3 , 2012, 243-248.

    [22] M. Zhao and S-C. Zhu, Sisley the Abstract Painter, Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Non- Photorealistic Animation and Rendering (NPAR’2010), Annecy, France, 2010, 99-107.