Friday, September 28, 2012

Vincent Van Gogh Sunflowers

Vincent van Gogh is one of my favorite artists and my students loved learning about him! They are always interested in his life and how sad and tragic it was in the end. This is the perfect time of year to discuss van Gogh's famous sunflower paintings because we are seeing sunflowers pop up in all the fields around town. Before introducing the lesson I give my students a little background on Vincent van Gogh. The book Camille and the Sunflowers is perfect for this! In this lesson I talk a lot about overlapping, outlining, depth, repetition, variation, unity, and still-lifes.

  •  examples of Vincent van Gogh's sunflower paintings
  • a 9x12 black piece of construction paper OR larger
  • pencil
  • Elmer's school glue
  • construction paper crayons (oil pastels or chalk pastels would also work but would be a bit messy for 2nd grade)

                                    Introduce Vincent van Gogh and his sunflower paintings. Discuss the composition, variation of colors, flowers, vases, and the painterly quality of the works of art. Why do you think van Gogh painted the sunflowers more than once (to get better and better)? How does he show depth in these paintings (lightness and darkness of colors and overlapping)? How does he establish variety and unity (through color and shape)? Is there an emotion conveyed?
                                    Demonstrate drawing (with pencil) a bouquet of flowers in a vase. Two or three different varieties of sunflowers should be drawn and overlapping should be apparent to show depth. I have students repeat each type of flower at least once.  The vase and tabletop should be added next. Stems and leaves should be added in a variety of greens.
                                    Students should outline their drawing with a thin line of glue. Allow glue to dry before coloring in the composition with construction paper crayons. I have students stick to warm colors when coloring in their flowers. I also give students the option to sign their name on the vase the way Vincent did :)

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