National Gallery at Home: Framing the World

Elizabeth ArchboldCredit

While our onsite activities are reduced, our Education team are bringing some of their family and sensory workshops to you online so that you can get creative at home!

Follow this step-by-step activity to create a Mondrian-inspired picture.

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) was inspired by views of the world around him. He is best known for his abstract paintings (like this one) made up of geometric shapes, horizontal and vertical lines, primary colours (red, yellow, blue), as well as black, white and grey.

For this activity, you're going to look closely at an object and create your own Mondrian-inspired picture of it using geometric shapes and strong primary colours.

Let's get started!

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National Gallery at Home

Framing the World



  • A5 paper
  • Square paper
  • A pencil
  • Markers, colouring pencils or crayons
  • A rubber
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • An object (or objects) to draw (we chose to draw a rose in a vase)

You can also use a wearable viewfinder, if you like. You can find out how to make a viewfinder here. But, it's just an optional extra - you can still do the activity without it!


  1. Divide your A5 sheet of paper into a grid by drawing two vertical lines and two horizontal lines on it.
  2. Now, put on your wearable viewfinder (if you're using one) and look through it at your object. Or, simply make a frame shape with your index fingers and thumbs, and look through it at your object.
  3. Start drawing the object, using the grid to help you place it and the space around it.
  4. When you are happy with your drawing, rub out the grid lines. You might have to fix some of your drawing lines.
  5. Now you're ready to start colouring in! Mondrian used primary colours - yellow, blue and red - as well as black, white, and grey.
  6. When you're finished colouring, cut your drawing up into rectangles and squares - make them a mixture of different sizes.
  7. Take another look at how Mondrian arranged his shapes and spaces
  8. Now, arrange your shapes on the big square piece of paper.
  9. Once you're happy with it, glue the shapes in place and enjoy your new abstract artwork!

Credits: Devised by Elizabeth Archbold for the National Gallery of Ireland.

This activity, which would normally have taken place in the Maples Group Creative Space, is now brought to you online.

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