Monday, July 4, 2011

A painting lesson on Van Gogh landscapes

Ideally, I would love to take students outside to do a lesson on Van Gogh landscapes, but considering it's about 100 degrees here right now, I decided to teach in the air conditioned studio. I love to talk about the passion, movement and texture in Van Gogh's art. His landscapes are my favorite-so simple, yet so intriguing. Student's had 2-1/2 hours to complete this lesson. We used acrylic paints and gel medium for the texture. Students loved trying out the palette knives. In class, I just have a plastic set for students to use and they work out great for first time users. Here's a snap shot of our lesson. Students chose Van Gogh's Wheat Field with Cypresses (above) as their inspiration piece.

First, we identified the horizon line, foreground, middle ground and background and focal point. 

We talked about the movement in the painting and texture. Students laid in base colors first and then had fun using the gel medium and gloss medium to create a textured layer on top. Since we had limited time, students had to simplify the brush strokes and get the textured effect with the gel medium and palette knife.

The students who did these paintings ranged in age from 3rd grade to 6th grade.


  1. I like the movement in these. I particularly love the skies. Ironically, I'm doing a lesson based on this painting next week. :)


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