Inspired by Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

…..the kindergarten classes that I teach art to created a garden of Van Gogh inspired sunflowers

Recently I read the book The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock to the entire school. The book is one of the Blue Spruce nominees for 2017. the-artist-and-me-by-shane-peacock

I liked this book for two reasons. Firstly, because it is written for young children and highlights how the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh was bullied by children and adults alike. It points out that even adults are bullied when they appear different or do things differently. In Van Gogh’s case he suffered from depression and his art was different from the classics that people had come to expect from artists. The students were surprised that such a famous artist was treated so badly. I explained to them that Van Gogh was one of several new artists that had grown tired of traditional painting and wanted to experiment with texture, colour and paint strokes. People had a hard time excepting this new way of painting and in his lifetime Van Gogh only sold one painting.

Secondly, I liked this book because the illustrator tried to use similar colours that Van Gogh used and he reproduced parts of Van Gogh’s work in his illustrations. For example there are a few illustrations of Van Gogh’s famous bedroom and an illustration of the wheat fields that he liked to paint.

I had other books that showed some of Van Gogh’s many paintings. I showed my kindergarten classes the sunflowers that Van Gogh became famous for after he died. In our art period I demonstrated how to paint simple sunflowers using round stamps. Some of the students used paintbrushes to create the petals of the sunflowers. We talked about the different varieties and colours of sunflowers and I gave them yellow, red, orange and white paint that they could mix if they wanted.

On the first day the students painted the centres and the petals of the flowers. On day two they added green leaves and stems. I also gave them the option of adding a blue sky in the background and I showed them how to paint around their flowers. Some of the students also added some ladybugs and other little critters.


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Kindergarten Klimt Patterns

….Gustav Klimt created beautiful patterns using gold leaf along with red and black paint

My kindergarten class created their own prints with inspiration from Gustav Klimt. I gave each student a sturdy piece of cardboard. Last year one of my parents donated a whole box of these 9 x 12 pieces of cardboard. You might remember that the grade 3s last year made looms from them and created amazing woven wall hangings (Weaving Our Way to Happiness).

On the first day I gave each student shapes, (i.e., squares, rectangles, circles) cut out from foam board and red, black and orange paint. They painted the shapes and then randomly pressed them onto the cardboard. Once they were finished we put them away to dry.

On the second day I gave them lids and corks and stamps that I had made with students in another class. I also introduced silver and gold acrylic paint. I encouraged them to stamp the new colours inside the shapes they had printed the week before. There’s something about metallic paints that children love.

On the third day we talked about adding texture and detail using a fine tip black Sharpie. Their work went from wonderful to WOW. Here are a few of the finished prints.

another  class

Kindergarten Winter Owls

….a two part lesson using pieces of cardboard and their thumbs

Before Christmas I wanted to create a winter scene that used a minimum of paint but would still be fun for the children without making too much mess. I found a  great assignment on Kids’ Artists.

The background is a dark blue or purple paper so that it contrasts with the white trees and looks like a night sky. The trees are created by dipping the edge of the cardboard into the white paint and dabbed onto the paper to form the trunk and branches. Then thumbs are dipped into the paint and stamped onto the branches to make the owl bodies. When the paint is dry the details are added with a fine tipped Black sharpie.

The children loved this project and some of them couldn’t stop stamping owls onto their trees.


My Year in Art – Part 3

….this is the last instalment for Daily Post Countdown to the Year 2014

September – back to school so lots of children’s art, especially Kindergarten art and a trip to the AGO to see the Alex Colville show

October – leaf art, colour bugs, friendly monsters, art at the farmers’ market and artistic pumpkins

November and December – more monsters, poppies, kindergarten art -‘drawing my body’ and Picasso portraits and another on-line course called ‘Table Top Drawing and Painting’

Looking forward to more art in 2015!

Picasso Portraits as Seen Through the Eyes of Children

….my kindergarten class just finished their Picasso portraits

After discussing faces and the different parts and how to draw them I introduced Pablo Picasso to my kindergarten class. We talked about the difference between reality painting and abstract painting and how Picasso could do both. I had photographs of some of Picasso’s abstract portrait paintings and then I drew an oval shape and divided it with a vertical line down the centre. I encouraged the children to use curvy or zigzag lines and to add more than one.

The next part was the fun part. They could draw as many eyes, noses and mouths as they wanted. They could use any colour for skin and hair. Each child was given a black Sharpie to draw a shape for the face, the lines within the shape and then all the facial features that they wanted to add. When they were done with that they took crayons and coloured in their Picasso faces and some of them coloured the background as well. I was amazed at the detail that they added. They really took the time to examine some of Picasso’s portraits and you could see how they tried to incorporate some of his design details in their own work. I think they’re fabulous. You be the judge.