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Invitation to Explore Vincent van Gogh 3 Ways

We have been exploring the artist Vincent Van Gogh’s by reading books about him & looking at images of his creations. Since his art has a certain child-like simplicity to it, especially in the use of bold colors, children are instantly interested in exploring the details in his work. Exposing artists of the world helps children develop & become aware of the beauty in the different styles along with techniques in art from around the world.

Here are 3 ways we explored the artist:

1. Invitation to Create Starry Night with Loose Parts on Mirrors: We invited the children to create their own rendition with loose parts (flat marbles, rocks, acrylic shapes/rocks) on acrylic mirrors as the base.

Loose parts provide unique inspiration, endless possibilities, challenge them to think, & encourage them to be creative with unusual things. This is not only a creative way to create from an artistic point of view, it is a way that encourages brain development, scientific experimenting, mathematical thought, risk taking, & trial/error learning. Through this kind of creating, children are really creating: using what they have and what they already know, and combining that to create a whole that’s greater than the parts. Combining loose parts & acrylic mirrors becomes an even more engaging source of visual sensory input. Children are naturally drawn to the reflection of mirrors & it often provides a more meaningful process.

2. Sunflower Provocation with Playdough: We set up a provocation where the children were invited to create his Sunflower painting in a 3-D way with playdough & loose parts (sunflowers/sticks).

A provocation is a technique used to stimulate children's thinking, to inspire them artistically, to empower them to take control over their learning, to open their minds, to create an environment for reflection, to challenge children, to observe the world around them, & to encourage creativity.

3. Fruit Still Life Painting: After looking at images of Van Gogh's fruit paintings, we invited the children to paint their own renditions. We provided images of his art work, fruit in a basket, tempera paint & paper to let them paint!

Inviting children to do a still life is a drawing or a painting of an object or a group of objects is a wonderful way for the children to observe every detail in the objects, compare similarities/differences, & challenge their cognitive abilities as they attempt to create work that is inspired by artists from around the world.

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