Bright, Bold Botany
See flower parts through the eyes of a famous artist! Georgia O'Keeffe's florals are a young botanists' dream.
1. Georgia O'Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on November 15, 1887. She focused on close, intense observation in her art. Her subject matter was primarily natural forms, such as bones, landscapes of the Southwestern United States, and flowers. "Shapes jump out at me," she said.
2. O'Keeffe's art, often close-ups of individual objects, sometimes crossed over from realism to abstraction because of her intense, precise way of looking at each object. She encouraged artists to "Try to paint your world as if you were the first man looking at it--The wind and the licat--and the cold--The dust and the vast starlit night...."
3. Look closely at the following artworks by Georgia O'Keeffe: Red Canna, Shell No. 1, and Sky Above White Clouds. While you can see from the titles that these artworks have their basis in actual scenes or objects, they are so closely focused and clear of other objects that they seem nearly abstract. On the other hand, some of her work, such as Oriental Poppies and her Jack-in-the-Pulpit paintings are more recognizable and realistic.
4. Identify the parts of a flower, and choose one to observe more closely. To create a floral painting in the manner of Georgia O'Keeffe, draw a large, simple outline of this flower with a Crayola® Crayon.
5. Cover your table with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola Washable Watercolors to fill both the flower and the background with color. Include bold details and focus on the form. Dry.
Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.
Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.
- Younger students and some with special needs may find it helpful to study the part of flowers before making this O'Keeffe-style painting. Find real plants or pictures that show the wide variety of colors and types of flowers. Sketch flowers and label their parts. Describe the function of each part.
- Use Crayola Fabric Crayons to create an O'Keeffe inspired T-shirt. You'll need an adult to assist.
- O'Keeffe also painted mountains and urban architecture. Try painting them in this same Precisionist style.