Activity: Create Your Own Kaleidoscopic Artwork

  • Grades: All Ages
  • Subjects: Art Activities

Beatriz Milhazes is a Brazilian artist who is known for her vibrant abstract paintings and prints. With circular geometric and ornamental shapes, her works seem kaleidoscopic. She is inspired by her physical surroundings and her personal cultural background. What will inspire you?

A brightly-colored artwork employs flowers and intricate patterns to create a kaleidoscopic effect.
Beatriz Milhazes; No Campo/On the Land, 1997; Carnegie Museum of Art: Purchase: gift of friends in honor of Barbara and Charles Miller. © Beatriz Milhazes

See & Think

Milhazes favors organized, repeating motifs in her designs. Take a look at the work above. In this case, she repeats concentric rings of circles. How many can you find? Describe each one and notice their similarities and differences.

Nature, and especially the botanical garden near her home, are important sources of inspiration for her. Where do you notice nature-inspired imagery in her work? Are they repeated?

Milhazes also looks to designs used in fashion and costumes for ideas. Does anything remind you of fabric patterns in this painting?

She combines imagery from many sources to create something new and interesting.

Do: Create Your Own Kaleidoscopic Artwork

Materials needed: paper, scissors, leaves or flowers, colorful paper, fabric, and glue

  • Find your references! Observe plants or flowers in your home or outside. Pick an interesting leaf, flower, or flower petal. You can pick one to take or sketch it.
  • Additionally, find a fun fabric pattern in your closet. Sketch a part of the fabric design.
  • Cut out many leaves or petal shapes based on your reference from colorful paper (magazines, origami paper, construction paper, etc).
  • Repeat this step with your fabric pattern inspiration! Consider different sizes and colors.
  • Combine these shapes as you create a composition on your paper by repeating patterns. Experiment with juxtaposing sizes and colors!
  • Try a few iterations before gluing your final design.