1st Grade > Georgia O'Keefe Inspired Flower Paintings

First grade students began our painting unit by exploring the foundations of painting. We explored line and learned about paint handling and proper brush care while observing expressive abstract use of line in contemporary and modern art. We then learned about the primary colors and how they can be mixed in order to create secondary colors. We created abstract paintings exploring shape and line that were inspired by the work of Wassily Kandinksky. We then learned about the artwork of Georgia O'Keefe. We looked at several of her paintings are noticed that she cropped her compositions, leaving very little blank or negative space in the background. We discussed how she did this so she could easily show lots of tiny detail by enlarging her subject, like a close-up in a movie.

We created small 6"x6" crayon studies by looking at photographs and noticing the different shapes and details we saw. We noticed that every petal has its own unique personality and shape, and that flowers have many different kind of details. We linked to the science curriculum and the students' lessons about flower's life cycled by noticing the stamen and pistols and discussing the role they play in reproduction.

After students carefully noticed the details in our flowers, we then created 12"x12" tempura paintings of flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe. We paid careful attention to how we applied our paint, using delicate, full brushstrokes, and selecting the appropriate brushes for the type of mark we wanted to make.