Vincent Van Gogh: SunflowersThe artist Vincent Van Gogh has provided us art teachers with a wealth of styles and techniques.
I had many great aspirations to have the students create sunflowers with actual seeds, black beans, etc. But when I thought about it, I decided to work with oil pastels because the rich color and texture would mesh well with Van Gogh's Impressionist style.
I went out and bought a big, beautiful sunflower so we would have an actual still-life to work with. And of course, what is a Van Gogh lesson without the students asking if he really cut off his ear..and was he really crazy?
So I always tell them...he only cut off the lobe...and yes, he was really crazy.
How else would be have created such works of art? Surely a sane mind couldn't produce quite the same caliber of work.
We artists, we're crazy! Teehee
- This is a lesson that takes almost zero preparation, but yields a great result.
- As always, show students examples of the artists' body of work, so they have a grasp of what the artist is about. I have several large Van Gogh books that were passed down to me by my uncle, who was a modern art lover as well.
- I set up a still life with the giant sunflower in a humble little vase and handed out a 9 X12 piece of drawing paper or Bristol board.
- Instruct the students to lightly pencil sketch the still life.
- When they are ready to start coloring, encourage them to use a little bit of pressure, to release the oil pastel's rich color.
- I gave students the liberty to be creative with their vases, so they didn't come out the same.
- As a final touch, I had each student sign their vase, just like Van Gogh did.
- As always, I was impressed with each students take on the sunflower.