Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the Style of van Gogh: Remembrance Day Painting and Giveaway Results

This is "Field of Poppies" by Vincent van Gogh 1890.

As a Remembrance Day art project I wanted Grade 3 to try and recreate this composition.

This was the sample I used for the class.

Those of you who attended my ECEC workshop on "From Primitive to Post Modern" will recall my comments on teaching Impressionism to kids.

The difficulty with painted art projects is that the kids get so intent on those dabs of paint that often you lose the's gets away from them.  You can try this method to help keep it together.


- disk tempera paint (blue, green, yellow)
- powdered tempera paint (blue, green, yellow, white, red)
- containers to mix up paint in
- water
- paintbrushes, art boards
- wc paper or heavy sketch paper, even white cardstock will suffice
- reference photos
- pencil


Take your wc paper and tape off onto your art board.  My initial sample was quite large when I realized it was probably better for the kids to only focus on a smaller sized project. (8 x 10)

Show the kids reference photos, discuss Impressionism in terms of art history, the idea of a fleeting moment or that visual rush of movement. (i.e. spinning round in a field).  Discuss the way van Gogh used brushstrokes and heavy paint texture to achieve that movement.
I had the kids draw a horizon line and then asked them to draw another line in the ground section to create 2 meadows.
Then using the disk tempura I asked them to paint a wash in each section.  Blue for the sky and green and yellow for the meadow.

Let dry.
Mix up your powdered tempera. You want it quite thick and using small brushes get the kids to add those dabs of paint on top of the now dry wash.  I asked the kids to vary their brushstrokes so that the kind the used for the sky, say sideways, was different from the brushstrokes to represent the grass.
I also asked them to clump their brushstrokes.  I was trying to prevent them from creating just a pattern of dots.  This needed to be reinforced as they would get into this repeating action of just dabbing.  That holding back so there was some negative space on the paper proved difficult for some of them.

The poppies were added last.  I also asked them to place a few green dabs in a line in the sky to represent those far off trees.  Let the paint dry.
Finally we added trunks to our trees using a fine sharpie.  Mount on black paper for final presentation.    That's it.  I'm hoping to have more pictures of the final student results for you later today.

On to the giveaway, I had a total of 56 entries for the "Crazy for Cake Pops" by Molly Bakes. 
After a random draw the winner was my 23rd email entry which turned out to be Rhonda who emailed me yesterday and said:
"Love your posts! Would love to win book and begin making cake pops with my daughter! Thanks, Rhonda"

Thanks everyone for entering!  Due the holiday on Friday I probably won't be back till next week with more projects I featured at the conference and of course new holiday projects as Christmas is creeping up fast.  See you then.


  1. Hi Gail,
    Just wanted to encourage you. We are a home ed family and love your blog, we follow your lessons for learning art from my dd4 & ds10 to mum 39! and we love trying your ideas. Thank you for blogging, Warmest Wishes, Renelle I will post some soon.

  2. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [10 Nov 02:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  3. Thank you for this! I gave my 7 year old son a little extra instruction and his turned out amazing!