Friday, March 12, 2010

Fantastic Friday with the Arts - Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Warm weather is here, spring is in the air, let's paint flowers! In honor of Vincent Van Gogh's March 30th birthday, we learned a bit about still lifes and tried our hand at painting sunflowers. We began our lesson by exploring the art of the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh (March 30, 1853 - July 29, 1890.) We paid special attention to Van Gogh's Sunflowers series. A large sample of these paintings can be found at .

I also took this opportunity to introduce the kids to the concept of the still life. A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects. Flowers in a vase definitely qualify as a still life. Because Van Gogh's Sunflowers painting are mostly yellow, we also discussed the term monochromatic, which means all of the colors in the artwork are tints (light versions) or shades (dark versions) of a single hue.

The kids began this project by drawing their own still life of sunflowers in a vase with a pencil. Ideally, it is best if the kids have actual sunflowers to look at when drawing their pictures, however since I did not have any, I printed out pictures of sunflowers for them to look at. Here is a website that has a lot of pictures of real sunflowers - .

Begin painting - we used washable tempera paint.

Here is one of the most colorful finished pieces. This one happens to be created by my daughter who absolutely loves lots of color. She followed the guidelines of the project initially, but eventually went her own creative way, and that is OK. Monochromatic painting is not her thing. For me, art is all about creativity. As long as the kids are expressing themselves and creating, it doesn't matter if the finished product is a little different than expected. Originality is actually a good thing!

Well, that's it for this Fantastic Friday. As the spring flowers start popping up in your yard this spring, remember Van Gogh's sunflowers and try a still life of your own!


  1. That looks SO fun! And wow, you are so talented, your artwork is just breathtakingly beautiful.

  2. I just have to say I love your blog! Thanks for sharing your ideas!