Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Kids Get Arty: Van Gogh Sunflowers


Kid's Get Arty Link-up is a bi-monthly link up, all about exploring art and the great artists, having fun together and there are no right or wrongs - perfect!  It's hosted by some fabulous blogs Red Ted Art,and Mom 2 Posh Lil Divas,and we're very excited to be joining in. Do stop by some of these blogs and see some amazing and creative ideas linked up.


This time we've had a look at two artists, one chosen by Chick, my 5 year old and one more geared for my nearly 3 year old (post to follow for this one.)   The Katie series of books exploring some famous artists have been very popular with Chick and she's been asking for ages to have a go at painting the sunflowers.
Art Themes: Colour Mixing, Brush Strokes and Positioning/Size

  

Colour mixing - with mainly yellows, oranges and bits of green it was a great project to explore simple colour mixing and making different shades of the same colour.  I gave Chick yellow, blue, red, white and brown paint and helped her when needed, to mix the colours, helping her look back at the painting and asking questions 'what colour is that flower?' Is that a darker or lighter shade of yellow on this bit?'

Brush strokes - We talked about the type of brush strokes Van Gogh made in his painting and we explored using different size brushes and doing short and long flicks, smooth or choppy stroke overlapping each other.  We talked about trying to brush the paint across the page and how our brushes can create different effects depending how we use them.

Positioning and Size - sometimes a blank piece of paper can feel overwhelming and it's a struggle to get started.  Van Gogh's sunflowers lends itself really well to being broken down into a simple background, the vase and the individual flowers as I helped Chick think about where the next flower needed to go relative to the one she'd just painting and what size might it be, again giving suggestions such as drawing the size with my finger over the area to help her. 

We love process based art and sometimes the finished piece is nothing more than a brown, muddy, gloopy mess of too much paint but other times it is very much a finished piece of work to be proud of.  Although it might appear that there was more product than process involved here, this project was very much process based, in that we were seeking to explore and learn a number of art techniques through doing the painting, which was her choice of painting to study.  I suppose it was process based in the way a guided art lesson seeks to teach whilst creating.  And I promise this was a long art lesson of 5 sessions over 3 days with a child who loves detail, accuracy and precision - so not for everyone!  

 

Session 1: We started by painting the background, mixing the colours, talking about the shade of yellow and what colours mix to make orange.  We then left it to dry.  
Session 2: Started with the pot, then moved on to some of the lower flowers.

 

Session 3:  Added the dark line round the pot and dividing the background colours and doing a few more flowers.  

 

Sessions 4: We worked on a few more flowers.  Again looking at brush strokes - short or long, fat or thin, choppy or smooth.  Again looking at colour mixing and positioning of the flowers.

 

Session 5: finishing the remaining flowers.
  

With this project we were very much looking at the detail and artistic techniques that Van Gogh used in his sunflowers and hence Chick's painting looks similar.  A nice alternative would be to do a still life painting session of a vase of sunflowers, although this might be more suitable for older children.


Perhaps the loveliest part of this project was being able to spend some one of one with my eldest and also how proud she was of her picture at the end.  This is one of the first times we've managed to do a project lasting over a number of days and it's definitely worth it for them seeing how things develop and how putting lots of effort in gives a project to be proud of.

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