Sunday, December 15, 2013

Georgia O'Keeffe Macro Flowers

The Grade 3's just finished a Georgia O'Keeffe artist study and even the boys who balked at drawing flowers were really engaged.  We started with a book from a favorite children's art series, Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists.

It was especially poignant that Georgia went to art school and was working as a professional artist at a time when it was not considered appropriate for women to do so.  The children were horrified at the thought, despite the fact that we live in the only country in the world where women do not have the right to drive.

We started the art creation part of the unit by looking at the difference between cartoony "symbolic" flowers and the real deal.  What makes a 2D image look "real"? What's the difference between drawing what we see and drawing what we know?

I drew a few flowers from photographs using the document camera and the children then chose five flower images from a huge pile and drew them in their sketchbooks.  This was simply to get experience drawing what they see (getting away from the cartoons/symbols).

The next step was choosing another flower and drawing it HUGE on a black piece of paper.  We talked about cropping and zooming in-- making the flower feel powerful.  Again, I demonstrated on the document camera first and then they chose their own flowers from the pile and tried it.  Tracing over the lines with white glue was the next step.  The dried glue lines really do make a difference for emphasis in the finished piece, and they help young children consolidate their efforts into one small space at a time.

When the glue was dry, the children had a lesson in shading/blending oil pastels before they attempted it on their final pieces.  I gave them the handout below and demonstrated coloring in one direction, following contour lines and blending colors with the document camera.  They got to practice on their own using whatever colors they wanted, and when they were done they graduated onto shading our final pieces.

The last step was a quick reflection on what they've learned, these were displayed under their artwork:


  1. I just love the flower worksheet to practice the oil pastel techniques.The project are just beautiful. Pinning!

  2. Personally I think that Aboriginal Art really is a fascinating type of art and possibly among the most interesting types of art the world has ever discovered.