As I mentioned in my summer post, I decided I wanted the kids to learn about come famous artists and do a little art project along with that new knowledge.
The first artist I chose was the painter Vincent van Gogh. The main book we looked though and read parts of was Van Gogh by David Spence. the kids were intersted to learn about his life and were simply fascinated and confused (as I was a child too) why van Gogh would cut off part of his ear. (It turned into a small chat about mental illness for a bit and then back to painting.)
We also looked a bit through the The Usborne Book of Art for a few of his paintings and read a children's fiction book called Camille & the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt. I think I should have started with this one and know for future artist to go with a fun lighter version of an artist's life. There are TONS of other books out there that are great for introduction children to artists, but these are what we used and had easy access to.
Before we started on our projects we look at these four paintings, along with Starry Night, a lot. Sunflowers is so famous, Bedroom in Arles was interesting (and was talked about in the books), one of many self portraits, this was the most interesting because of the bandaged ear, and lastly, the unique brushstrokes in the Wheat Field with Crows.
I have mentioned this book before.The Usborne Art Treasury book was what inspired my desire to do some art projects based on famous artists. We turned to the van Gogh page and partially followed along with their ideas. I think my kids are a bit young for it, so it was a nice starting point for us and then we adapted as needed. The project in the book was based on Starry Night, so that is what we did too.
I set the Starry Night picture out for the kids to see in case they wanted to use it.
And they went to work on their own paintings, trying their hand at their own van Goghs.
My 6 year old tried to match the painting both in colors and style.
Of the three of them, he used mosre of the techniques from the "Art Treasury" book, including making scrape lines in the paint.
My 5 year old mostly just painted rhinos because he is totally into drawing them lately.
He did match van Gogh's small random brush stroke style.
As for the almost 2 year old. She just wanted to use a brush like her brothers instead of the finger paints I provided her with.
The van Gogh-ness to hers is pretty much matching the colors in Starry night. I love it.
The paintings were all hung up to dry and for us to enjoy.
The next day for their writing notebook assignment (which we are still doing great at and it is still loved by everyone), they boys wrote about van Gogh.
And that's it. It was a very simple and brief learning about a famous artist and trying their hand at working a new method into their own art.
Some great sources on van Gogh:
- A General Bio on van Gogh at My Kids Art
- Project focusing on van Gogh's Lilies painting at Practical Pages
- Several project ideas inspired by van Gogh's more famous paintings on Mrs. Picasso's Art Room
- A coloring page of Starry Night also from Practical Pages
- A printable book on van Gogh at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
- An interactive diorama at The van Gogh Museum
- Landscape paintings inspired by van Gogh at Deep Space Sparkle (and other great Van Gogh ideas too. Just use the tag "famous artists" to find them)
Next up we are going to do Picasso. And just thumbing through the books/websites I already learned that he as an amazing painter by age 13 and his weird cubism paintings were done out of need for something new and challenging.