Wednesday, May 27, 2015

FOURTH GRADE . . . Painting like Georgia O'Keeffe

"If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment." - Georgia O'Keeffe

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way . . . things I had no words for." - Georgia O'Keeffe

Fourth graders paused in their busy schedules at school to admire the beautiful work of Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), an American artist, best known for her studies of nature. She often zoomed in on her subjects, getting us all to slow down and notice the beauty she captured in the world around her. She did not paint an entire field of flowers, but instead focused on the shapes and colors of just one blossom.

As well as inspiring us to admire the details in a single flower, a sea shell, or even an animal skull, Georgia O'Keeffe was a master of color and blending. To follow her lessons, we each chose a photograph of something from nature and drew the image very large on our canvases. Then, we selected our color palette, considering carefully how to create the best blends.

To make two colors blend together, we referred to the color wheel. Colors that are near each other on the wheel will make the most natural blends. Adding white will create a tint of the color and adding darker hues will create a shade of the color. Any of these choices would work well. To blend the colors directly on the canvas, we worked in one area at a time, letting our paintbrushes do the blending. For a flower with many petals, that meant applying the colors and blending them together, one petal at a time.

Not only were these fourth grade nature paintings the highlight of our art show, I am so proud for them to grace the screen of my art blog. Bravo to all my artists! A special recognition goes out to Nick B. who broke his arm just at the start of this project, and even with his injury created the most amazing blend of colors all around his animal skull!

Here is a small sample of what we created. To see everyone's paintings, follow this link to our home page on

Painting by Alden R.

Painting by Emilia R.

Painting by Nick B.

Painting by Michael G.

And one final quote that I certainly can relate to...

"Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I can't sing, I paint." - Georgia O'Keeffe