Sunday, December 8, 2013

Van Gogh Sunflowers

Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" are part of Kindergarten print curriculum, so we started out by reading the book "Camille and the Sunflowers" by Laurence Anholt. I am so impressed with this author. He paints such a creative picture of artists with clever stories based on their lives. In this story, Camille was the son of the postman Van Gogh used as the subject of one of his paintings. It even had a page where Van Gogh had an easel gazing at the cypress tree under the swirling stars of "Starry Night." I don't think Kindergarteners delighted in all these details nearly as much as an art nerd like myself, but it was still a cute story for them to introduce the project. 

 I'm still struggling with my thoughts about letting Kindergarten trace anything. I'm trying to only let them trace circles because my older kids use compasses to get perfect circles. Tools can be a good thing, but I really want them to just learn to draw by making mistakes. I went ahead and had them trace a paint dish to get the basic shape/size of the flower vase. 


I told them to put little stars above the vase in five different places. It cracked me up walking around to see them draw five stars in a straight line. It looked a little goofy, but they did follow my directions so I couldn't complain. 


The goal was to create a wax resist, so they used crayons on their paper. I showed them how to start in the middle of the flower with brown and move outward with yellow and orange. They all did a very nice job just using crayon, but I don't want them to think that art is just coloring time, so i added another step. 

They absolutely loved crumpling up their paper- it was just too funny! 

They flattened it out and made it semi-smooth again but with cracks in the wax. 

They needed a lot of supervision/help with the last step, so I called them up a few at a time to do this with me. I watered down some regular blue tempera and they wiped it across the paper, letting the wax show through. 


Below was my vision for the project. A lot of them turned out to be a mess, but one little girl used pink crayon for the background, and it turned out a lot cooler. In the following classes, I encouraged them to not use blue. One class has significantly less control of their motor skills, so we skipped the painting altogether. 


Maybe I could do a collage and just do the crinkle effect as the background next time. I see a lot of different ideas for these popular paintings, but there really weren't a lot of options for this one that didn't involve tracing the flowers. If I can convince myself that tracing still allows for creativity and strengthens their drawing, I might start using those tools more often. It's a difficult balance between making their piece look "better" (aka cleaner) and making it more authentic. 


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