Van Gogh Sunflowers

As soon as I found out that I was going to be teaching art this year, I began getting excited for this project.
It's one I remember doing in my elementary school art room many years ago!
It's a favorite of mine and my third graders did not disappoint!
You could use a variety of mediums for this project- this year, we used liquid tempura and oil pastel but I think next year, I'll use painted paper to switch things up and see how that goes!
So many possibilities and so little time!
But I digress.
We started off this project, like I do with the majority of my classes- front loading information and pulling out schema to get the kids in the "art state of mind". We used BrainPop Jr. to watch a short video about Vincent Van Gogh and impressionism painting. We also had a wonderful discussion about how colors can emulate feelings and emotions for both the artist and the viewer.
We did a quick directed drawing with a light colored crayon.
I like to use crayon because it encourages small hands to draw big plus any mistakes can be easily painted over.
Students used liquid tempura to paint in short strokes and they really enjoyed color mixing directly on their paper.
The problem with fun painting projects is that kids end up more engaged in mixing colors than completing the actual painting. Some of the kids had a ball just painting their vase one color and then completely painting over it another color. The artist in my gets so excited to see the kids experimenting with color- but the control freak in me panics because we're on my self-inflicted pacing guide folks and there's no time to waste- chop, chop kids.

Then I count to ten, take a deep breathe and remind myself that our kids haven't had art class in many years- playing with paint is part of the discovery process.

Then I repeat: count to ten, deep breathe....

You get the picture.
Once their completed paintings were dry (4 classes later) - students used brown or black oil pastel to outline and add definition to their vase and flower petals. This small touch really added definition!

I think they turned out really great for our first Van Gogh adventure!
PTL it's Friday ya'll!  


  1. Those turned out great! I may have to try that with my class sometime this year. They will do the mixing colors thing, too. We've done one painting thing this year and it was only a disaster for one student . . . who is a little disastrous anyway!

    What I Have Learned

  2. Ha! We all have a handful of "those" :)


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