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Young artists creating in the style of famous artists 2

We love doing art in our classroom and we try to integrate it in our thematic curriculum as much as possible.  However, two years ago, thanks to our colleague Amy Kim, we decided to explore the artwork of particular artists.  Although we don't agree with copying art, we do think that exposing our students to artists' styles helps them expand the way they think about art and the way they create art.  Each year we pick about seven artists to study depending on our curriculum, museum exhibits, and personal favorites.  We do make sure to include male and female artists, living artists, and artists of a diverse background.  Each month we study a different artist and then create a piece in his/her style.  The children love going home to teach their families about what they've learned.  
 

Here are some of the artists we've studied:  

Vincent Van Gogh

We usually talk about Van Gogh in the spring when we learn about flowers in our science curriculum.  We show the children a Smartboard slide show of him and his work and give them basic information about his life and style.  Next lesson is a review of the main elements of the artist's work.  Last, the children create a piece based on the Van Gogh's style.

Project materials:

  • painting paper

  • bins of colors for each table

  • thick and thin paintbrushes

  • a bouquet of sunflowers on each table

Procedure:

Van Gogh 1 Van Gogh 2The children decide which flower/s they want to paint and if it will be the whole flower or part of it.  Then they start to paint using individual strokes in Van Gogh's style.  Obviously some children just paint in the way they are used to, but we don't have a problem with that.

 

 

 

 

Romare Bearden

 

We usually talk about Bearden during our unit on jazz.  We show the children a Smartboard slide show of him and his work and give them basic information about his life and style.  Next lesson is a review of the main elements of the artist's work.  Last, the children create a piece based on th Bearden's style.  Needless to say that we listen to jazz while we create.  At the end of this unit we usually go to a performance at "Jazz at Lincoln Center" where they have copies of some of Bearden's work.

 

Project materials:

  • watercolor paper

  • pencils, thin sharpies, watercolors

  • scissors

  • different types of paper and materials

Procedure:

This project takes multiple days.  When we started talking about Bearden we were in between our study of school and neighborhood community.  So we decided to have the children draw our school.  We took them outside and had them draw the building using pencil.  At the same time, a teacher took pictures of the building that the children later were able to use as collage material.  Next the students went over their drawing with sharpie and watecolors.  Then they cut and glued on any of the collage materials we had available: pictures, many different types of paper, material scraps, photos of themselves and classmates.

 

 

                    Bearden 1                         Bearden 2      Bearden 3       

 

 

 

 

Andy Warhol

 

We usually talk about Warhol at the end of the year.  We show the children a Smartboard slide show of him and his work and give them basic information about his life and style.  Next lesson is a review of the main elements of the artist's work.  Last, the children create a piece based on th Warhol's style. 

 

Project materials:

  • children's photos, frame of six

  • colored pencils

Procedure:

 

We take a picture of each student.  We make the pictures black and white and create a frame of six with each one.  Then the children use colored pencils to color in their individual frame of six photos.  This project was conceived by our assistant Marisa Rose.

 

Warhol 1                Warhol 2      Warhol 3      Warhol 4

 

 

 

 

Museum Visit

 

Museum 1 Museum 2 At the end of the year we visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (we are in New York City) to see some of the artists' work that we've studied.  It is amazing to walk through the halls and have the children spot a Mondrian or a Pollock and watch their faces light up with excitement!  

 

 

 

To learn more about how we launch our artists' unit and see some of the other artists we've studied please visit our previous post "Young artists creating in the style of famous artists 1."

 

Please share your ideas with us if you have done similar projects.

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