Georgia O’Keeffe was a fantastic artist! We have always enjoyed studying her art, especially her Southwestern paintings because, ahem, we live in the Southwest! But her flower paintings are also beautiful. In this post, we are going to do another Famous Artists for Kids study by learning how to paint flowers like Georgia O’Keeffe.
If you wanted to introduce your kids to her before this lesson, be sure to check out our 3-part cards on her life and some of her Art. Don’t forget to visit our resources hub for music and fine arts! It is full of wonderful hands-on ideas for you to use at home.
Georgia O’Keeffe Art Lesson
For this Georgia O’Keeffe art lesson, let’s begin with admiration for the artist. In what way did the artist bring life to her subjects? What can we gain from this artist? What makes the selected pieces unique? What was her style?
First, I gather great resources and read them. Then, I asked my students questions about each piece. I like to point out the elements of each selection that bring out new vocabulary.
- Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has an excellent biography and some displays of her works.
- Awesome O’Keeffe flower puzzle to keep someone busy.
Her flowers, shells, bones and desert landscapes are stunning. She certainly did achieve her aim when she said,
“I’ll paint what I see-what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it.”
Color Flowers Like O’Keeffe Lesson Tutorial
For this lesson you will need for each student:
Pacon SunWorks Construction Paper, 9-Inches by 12-Inches, 50-Count, White (9203)Sharpie 38250PP Permanent Markers, Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors, 8-CountDual Brush Pens set, Sttye Dual Tip Watercolor Markers 24Fiskars 01-004761J Softgrip Scissors Straight Stainless Steel, 8 Inch
- 8 x 8 in. cut white construction paper
- 1 in. x 8 in white construction paper strips (fold into 5 equal parts)
- multiple and varied colors of permanent markers
- multiple and varied colors of regular markers. Be sure you have packages that include variations of colors both light and dark.
Vocabulary to discuss and define: highlights, shading, color gradient scales, outline, overlapping, contrast, warm colors, cool colors, color families, and neutral colors.
Teaching about color gradients helps children add depth to their projects.
This is the skill practice for the lesson. Before you start, let each child choose the flower they want to draw. You can use real flowers or you can use O’Keeffe’s paintings.
Once they have decided what they are drawing ask them what the main color of the flowers is. That is the color/color family they will be using to make their gradient. Choose six variations of the same or close to the same color.
Have your students or child fill the construction paper strip with each color from lightest to darkest. They are making a color gradient scale. This also explains and tests which colors are lightest and which are darkest. Your child will need to know this before doing the main project.
Ask your students if their color is warm or cool. This will be important to know later for any background as it will be a contrasting color.
How to Color Georgia O’Keeffe flowers.
This lesson will teach kids the concept to always begin with lighter colors and slowly add shading with layer on layer of color from light to dark. White areas must be left blank. This will introduce them to color planning and a vision before starting.
Color isn’t just for crayons. Nor does skill with markers have to end with making posters. Through this lesson, your child will learn to color in a more artistic way using markers. Markers don’t erase, so like with watercolors, you have to start with lightest shade and slowly add darker creating depth to the project.
How to make big flower like Georgia O’Keeffe with markers on construction paper.
1 Your student or child should already know what flower they are drawing and the various colors they will be using. Have your child draw the outline of the flower and it’s petals with pencil onto the 8 x 8 in. white construction paper. Make sure the student uses the entire space of the paper.
2 Next your child will outline the sketch, tracing over their pencil marks with their darkest permanent marker.
3 Erase any pencil marks showing.
4 As we begin to color the flowers it’s extremely important to stress that they must begin with lightest color and then add shadows slowly going darker and darker. They should use their gradient scale to remember which markers are lighter and darker. In addition if any area is to stay white, have your child leave it completely blank.
5 Point out to your child the shadows present in the object/flower being drawn. They should keep adding shades in those places until they have added their finishing touches with the darkest color.
6 Once all the shades are added then ask your child if they used cool or warm colors. If they used a warm color as in my sample have them choose a cool color for coloring the background space and vice versa. But, if they used the entire paper, that’s even better because remember these are big flowers, so there shouldn’t be lots of border space if any.
Here are some wonderful samples of the project!
Now it’s your turn! If you wanted to do another famous artist study with your kids, check out our Eric Carle eBook! It comes with 5 beautiful Art lessons that your kids will love!
Famous Artists for Kids ~ Lessons Inspired by Eric Carle
This 5-part tutorial includes:
- Color Wash and Splash Textures
- Brush & Scratch Textures
- Insect Wings and Body Textures
- Blotting Textures
- Project Completion
More Eric Carle Resources Page!
This step-by-step series will make it really easy for you and your kids!