Thursday, October 29, 2015


Van Gogh-Inspired Sunflowers Art Project

What kind of art project combines nature, a famous artist, art principles, and leaves lots of room for personal expression and interpretation?  These Vincent Van Gogh-Inspired Sunflower Paintings!

I first fell in love with the sunflower painting idea when I saw this post, but I knew I wanted a few changes in our lesson because most of our lessons are done with kids from preschool through third grade ages.  Here is what we did:

1- Investigate sunflowers!  My children brought a whole vase-full back from their run one day, so we talked about them, their different colors, and how they change as they grow older.

2- Vincent Van Gogh Discussion: We talked about Vincent Van Gogh once before when we made our Superhero City Scapes.  A few years before he died, he painted a series of sunflower explorations.  They became quite famous and, while our method is a little different than his, a sunflower study is a great introduction to several art principles and techniques.  It's also a super fun art project!

3- Time to Create!  
Step 1: Pencils!  First I gave our kiddos pencils and water color paper.  We looked at Van Gogh's paintings and our flowers and I prompted them to first draw a light line across their paper where the table will be.  Next, draw an oval to represent the vase.  The vase can be "fancied-up" later, but we first need to know where it is on the paper.  Finally, they drew in their flowers.  I told them they could have a lot, or a few, and could pkace them anywhere they wanted.

Step 2: Erasers!  We talked about ways to make things in their painting look like they were in front or behind other things.  Objects up close will be bigger, darker, and not "blocked" by lines.  We had to erase some lines so certain objects could be in front of others.  We started with the table (we wanted it to be behind the vase and flowers) and then the kiddos chose which other lines to erase.

Step 3: Permanent Markers!  I wanted to darken all the lines.  I had some kids agree with me on this one while others absolutely refused!  That's is their art project, after all!

Step 4:  Paint!  We used watercolors, and I encouraged them to use any color paint they wanted!  Some went for a more realistic look while others did not.  I think they all turned out wonderfully!

Finally, we "mounted" them on black construction paper and hung them up to display in our play room.  Everybody loved theirs!

I am sharing this art project as part of the 2nd Grade Blogging Team's Famous Artists Day!  Be sure to check out these other Famous Artist Activities:

Piet Mondrian Suncatcher Art for Kids from School Time Snippets
  Van Gogh Inspired Sunflower Art Projects from Preschool Powol Packets
  Matisse Inspired Suncathers from Creative Family Fun
  Warhol Inspired Art for Kids from Still Playing School
  Jackson Pollock Inspired Tote Bag Art from Sugar Aunts
  Georges Seurat Inspired Science with Art from Life Over C's
  An Artist Study for Elementary School from Planet Smarty Pants

I may share at any of these parties!

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Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Such a beautiful project! I am dying to know - is the "most realistic" (#3) yours or do you have an art prodigy in your preschool?

Carla at Preschool Powol Packets said...

Thanks! Everyone was very proud of their own work! The third one on black paper was a combination of me demonstrating and a group project--the kids "practiced" with me as they went along! The kids involved were preK-3rd ages. :)

Emma @ Our Whimsical Days said...

My daughter gets really frustrated when I try to encourage drawing something she can see, but it looks like these kids really had fun with it! I bet they were thrilled to see their works of art matted and hung on the wall!