VAN GOGH'S SUNFLOWERS
Sunflowers! Sunflowers! Sunflowers! The children were introduced to Vincent Van Gogh. They all seemed to recognize "Starry Night" when shown the painting but weren't quite sure who painted it and one child even asked if I had that painting at home. Just the poster, I answered. Just the poster. But, I thought the sunflowers were a great way to introduce Van Gogh, especially at this time of year.
I showed them a video for children made by the Van Gogh Museum, which you can access on YouTube. They have two versions, one for small children 2-4 and one for middle school.
I brought in sunflowers from home and, of course, forgot to put them in water, so they withered. Just like Van Gogh's sunflowers. I explained that he could not afford the fresh flowers and often purchased the withered sunflowers to paint because they were what he could afford.
The younger children, K-1, were read the book "Katie and the Sunflowers". This is a great art series, introducing many artists.
The first grade did a collaborative mural. They each drew two sunflowers with oil pastel on a piece of tag board. I took them step by step through the drawings. They drew a full flower and a half of flower. They will then watercolor them in and cut out to add to a collaborative mural that will hang in the school hall. They loved being a part of something bigger. I worried they wouldn't like that they couldn't take their art home but they seemed to love that they were doing a piece of this.
The 4th grade did gorgeous sunflowers in chalk pastels. I took them step by step through a sunflower drawing in pencil on scrap paper and then they used oil pastel on black construction paper to draw their good sunflower and filled it in with chalks. They made a mess but it was all for the sake of art. Lol! They loved doing these and I find that not giving them directions about color choices really lets them be creative and explore. Some ended up doing 2 flowers. They loved them so much. Check out their color combos. Great shading exercise. I matted them on white paper and had each sign them with their artist signature. They are still perfecting their cursive writing but I told them not to stress, just sign like an artist the best you can.
The second grade played a game with dice to create their sunflowers. They worked in partners and I gave them about 10 minutes to create a sketch of their vase of sunflowers. The dice rolling can get a little hard on the ears so 10 minutes in good. They took turns rolling. They needed help drawing the vase so I took them step by step as a class through it. Some still need help with this concept but it will come with time. They sketched in oil pastel and will fill in with watercolor to finish. Here is step one of their drawings. I got the game from Teachers Paying Teachers website. It is a wonderful site where teachers get paid for their lesson plans.
Fast finishers: I have some speedy artists so I wanted to make sure that I had things to keep them creating when done their project. I sketched Starry Night onto blue paper in white, with just basic designs, and asked them to fill in Van Gogh style with choppy strokes of the oil pastels the rest of the mural. They also could use collage. I underestimated how much THEY LOVED DOING THIS. The entire class ended up helping and we will hang it in the hall along with the sunflowers.