Artist Study with Kids: Georgia O’Keeffe

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

This is the fourth post in my Artist Study with Kids series. I’ve shared with you our Henri Matisse “painting with scissors” collage project, our Siona Delaunay paintings, and our Alexander Calder sculptures. Today I am presenting you with our flower paintings inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe, made by kids ages 4-8. I just love the observations skills used. It makes me admire these sweet, little paintings even more!

Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the most original American painters, famous for her large format flower paintings. Known for her fierce independence and her unique artistic vision, she painted throughout most of the 20th century, spanning virtually the entire history of modern art in America. She died at the age of 98 in her home in New Mexico, where she was endlessly inspired by the rugged terrain. I used to have a giant poster in my dorm room at art school of her poppy painting. She has always been one of those inspirational female artists that I love more each time I read about her.

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

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Supplies:

~ Paper (I used white sulphite paper cut into 9″ x 9″ squares, or you can use watercolor paper)

~ Pencil

~ liquid watercolors (this link is for a set, but you can buy them individually)

~ Flowers (poppies would be ideal, but lilies would work too)

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

As I had done for the other artists we studied, I wrote out some key words about Georgia O’Keeffe and printed out some of her most famous paintings so that we could have a small discussion about who she was, when she lived, and what her style was all about.

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

Since I couldn’t find any real poppies, which would have been ideal, I made some paper flowers with crepe paper and wire. One more reason to love Pinterest! I literally searched at 10pm and found an easy tutorial, and I was lucky enough to have the supplies (advantage of being an art teacher!).

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

We talked about how Georgia O’Keeffe would draw her flowers so big that they went off the page. This part was the most challenging for them, it felt unnatural to draw incomplete petals. But it was such a great learning experience. I actually saw one of the kids, later on in the week, drawing something that went off the edge. I sort of think she did this because the seed had been planted that this was even possible! It’s what I love about studying artists. The kids learn about new techniques, and for a brief moment they see things differently, and through the eyes of an artist.

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

painting flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keefe

Although I really encouraged the use of black, only one child used it prominently in their painting. I feel like I could have done a better job with getting them to use it somehow. I have some teacher skills to work on myself. I’m learning every day.

Here is a great Children’s book about Georgia O’Keeffe, one that I read to my class:

My Name is Georgia

Let me know if you try this with your kids, I’d love to see how it turns out!

xo, Bar