“I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.” –Georgia O’Keeffe
Students love to learn about Georgia O’Keeffe’s oversized flower paintings. The bold lines, bright colors and happy subjects speak to children. In my experience, students truly appreciate learning a different way to see the world.
Teachers like to have students imitate famous artists’ styles, and for many students, that is very frustrating. Most of us will never be able to approximate the works of the great artists, and kids know it. Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings feel more accessible to kids.
At first, my students have trouble filling a paper with just one flower. I usually do a few examples, with different types of flower outlines. Once kids see how it’s done, they are raring to go!
For reluctant or self-conscious artists, I draw the giant flower myself and let them color until they build up their confidence. Students who figure out how to draw big flowers like to help their friends.
The giant flowers make great Mother’s Day cards. I hope you and your class enjoy this simple but educational art project!
Cross curricular connection for science: plant growth is a third grade science topic in my district. I like to tie in art by having the kids make Georgia O’Keeffe pictures and gluing little clip-art bees on them. It’s a bee’s-eye view of a flower!
Visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s website for a gallery of her flower pictures. Fun anecdote: I visited the museum with my little brother when he was in third grade. Halfway through our museum visit, my brother said, “Wait. These are the original paintings? The ones Georgia touched?” He was awestruck.
See if your students understand that the paintings at art museums are the originals. You might be able to give them more appreciation of their next art museum visit.