Sunday, May 31, 2009

starry, starry night

pastels, black construction paper 12 x 18, scissors, glue sticks,
assorted colors of construction paper, images of van gogh's work

In the last few years of van Gogh's life he nearly painted a painting a day. He completed over 2,000 works of art in various media and 900 of those were paintings. His work prolific, his style totally unique, and his energy relentless, he was only an artist the last 10 years of his life and sold one painting before his death, but his influence on art has been amazing, overwhelming, and duplicated by no other.

After showing examples of van Gogh's work and sharing a little history on the artist I passed out images of "Starry Night." We took this opportunity to look at the work closely and discuss those intimate details that one must do when looking at his work. Using words like motion, energy, pulsating patterns, heavily applied, painted strokes and bright colors to express his unique style of painting and vision we had a conversation about "Starry Night." Giving the kids a chance to be a van Gogh they were asked to duplicate a starry night scene. I had to encourage and challenge the students to use only dashes and many colors to create pulsating movement on their black paper. I have to tell you, it does take a bit of encouragement because they will want to color and smudge with the pastels. After they have created their night scene with the pastels have them use construction paper to cut the shapes of a small town (or even a big city, one child did NYC buildings and the Statue of Liberty, have FUN and be CREATIVE) and glue to their paper, giving their scene a little dimension. They can add windows and doors with pencils and pastels. It is fun to listen to Don McLean's Vincent (Starry Starry Night) or to even read the lyrics to add other sensory aspects to the project. It is hard not to lose yourself in the painting or in the song for that matter, this project will turn all your nights into a starry, starry night.

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