Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Old Standby with a Twist

Georgia O'Keefe flowers. We all do them. But this is the best result I've had, so I thought I'd share. Second graders are very creative and unafraid of drawing yet, so I had them draw their flowers from looking at silk ones I put at each table. I explained carefully about not drawing what they imagine they should see, but instead drawing what they ACTUALLY see. We call those ideas of what something is supposed to look like "Schema." As in, previously learned information.

So the drawings themselves were very interesting. I required the kids to use asymmetrical balance, and go off all four sides of the paper, leaving as little negative space as possible. After drawing with pencil, they traced over it in Sharpie.

Next I had them use tissue paper and diluted white glue to color the flowers, brushing over the tissue like a decoupage. Lastly, after this was finished and dried, I had them add value shading and color accents with chalk pastels. (We got lucky and happen to have a box of Prismacolor Nupastels for each table - a donation.) For many students, most of what they did was trace the sharpie lines with black chalk pastel, and then blend it with a paper towel. I was thoroughly thrilled with how they turned out, and how well the kids listened and learned to use a new medium.

After everyone was finished, I lined them up outside and sprayed the artworks with Aqua Net hairspray as a fixative. They LOVED that. I have no idea why, but that seemed like the coolest thing in the world to them!

If any of you readers have a different way of doing this project that you just love, share it with me! I also wonder how 2nd graders are doing for you at your school. Is it me, or are they all super sweet this year?


  1. I LOVE this approach to O'Keefe! They are gorgeous. I am definitely going to try this. Thanks!

  2. This is a great website, I love your projects I'll have to try lots of them out!!

  3. Just love your blog! I found you on pinterest and thank you for sharing! I am always looking for different techniques and this one looks amazing!!

  4. These are gorgeous; great lesson and use of media. Can you tell us what age / grade kids did this work please?

    1. I did these with second grade, but I'm sure the older students would like this, too. I find that multi-media is my students' favorite approach to pretty much every project.

  5. By the way, I know this is an old post; I found it via Pinterest of course!

  6. Will you please give more detail on the tissue/glue/painting part? I'm not sure what you mean. (Am I the only one??)