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Thursday, April 22, 2010

V is for Vincent Van Gogh

Every year I like to do a unit on Vincent Van Gogh~ my son does not know who he so... We started with a few books about sunflowers. This is a great book about a man who visits named Van Gogh. I also showed him the Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and we looked at an eyewitness book about sunflowers. Then we began to look at all the different kinds of art books One called Vincent's COLORS- produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is an extraordinary accomplishment. Editor William Lach takes Van Gogh's own words from his letters to his brother Theo, translated closely or freely from French or Dutch, to describe the colors of some of his most famous and beloved paintings. Lach has rhymed them gently: "Leaves of silver turning to green, / stars sparkling, greenish, yellow, white, / a big bunch of violet irises, / and in my head a starry night." There's a single line of text per spread, each opposite a full reproduction or a detail of the painting that corresponds to the line. The book begins with a very brief introduction and ends with a complete list of the paintings with full description and a citation for the correspondence from which each description comes. Children—and their adults—will marvel at the sunflowers that are "twelve flowers that are light on light" or "a lady's clothes in black, black, black." Accessible to the youngest of connoisseurs. -
For those of you who don't know much about Vincent Van Gogh he was a man with strong feelings, and he sometimes behavied in a strange way. On Christmas Eve , a few months after he had finished SUNFLOWERS and following and argument with his close friend, the artist Paul Gauguin, he cut of part of  his left ear. ( I leave this part out for my son, now, but if he was 8-10 I would explain it) At half-past eleven at night he gave his ear to a woman, asking her to take good care of it, and then went home. He was found unconscious in bed by the police the next morning. Soon after that, Van Gogh painted a picture of himself a self-portrait- in which the bandage shows. Although today his paintings are some of the most expensive in the world, van Gogh sold only one in his lifetime.
This book had many good things about the color yellow and about the different shades of yellow Van Gogh may have used painting the sunflowers. My son and I visited a few websites to look at flowers, and we read a book about the seeds and then we decided to go outside and practice on canvas. We had done crayon and marker practice sunflowers and he had drawn a picture of a sunflower and a ladybug and dictated his story to me: the story is here:
" A long time ago, a man planted one sunflower. IT grew very tall. He used blue dirt to make the plants super duper duper strong. It did grow very tall, but  Then the sunflower finally started to die and birds swooped down and came and ate the sunflowers seeds. The ladybug was afraid of the birds so she hid under a rock. The rock had animal fur  on it. When the birds flew away the ladybug made a fur blanket from the rock. but she didnt' like the smell so she flew to find another slow ladybug to talk to. THE END
Here is his illustration for the story this is only his second drawing with a dictated story.
The book we also liked was Usborne the children's book of art by Rosie Dickins it has internet links atwww.usborne-quicklinks.com you just pick the country and write in your artist or children's art. You can add page numbers also. Here are the pictures of us outside painting and then our final canvas sunflowers.
well, whether you like Vincent Van Gogh or you like art teaching children about what art is? what makes it art? and the different kinds of mediums is a good place to start. Pastel, prints, oil paintings, water colors. Frescos and collage are fun too. Use the real vocabulary and purchase a few of the mediums watch your child's inner artist emerge. My son loved mixing the colors and here is his final project.
 I have posted his canvas sunflower on the side of my blog also, before he added the sky.

7 comments:

Grammy said...

Great post! I love art, and Van Gogh is one of the best! Your little boy is absolutely adorable!
Ruby

Amy said...

What a wonderful way to learn! I really enjoyed this post, and I love your the name of your blog. Will be reading more...

Wanda said...

Your son done a great job on his painting.

Melody said...

Oh, I love this! I didn't get a very good introduction to visual arts in school and I feel like I am lacking in being able to pass that along. The church where I attend a MOPS group has a school there and the first graders have their own renditions of Starry Night posted on the wall, I thought that was really neat! I'm going to see if our local library has one of these books.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

What great books! My two oldest children love art & your little boy is the cutest!

I love me some sushi too!

magically ordinary said...

Your son painted a beautiful canvas! I studied fine arts in college and spent an entire year studying color alone. It was my favorite year!

Ellie said...

Your son is a cutie and what a wonderful job he did! Love how you interpret Van Gogh for the children. The books sounds amazing. My daughter n' I read a book, i think she was nine. It was called the Van Gogh Cafe. It is fun to open this
world to kids, they are so receptive! Great post~

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