Art has always had a big impact in my life. As a lover of all things beautiful, I want to make sure that my kids grow up willing and able to appreciate art, particularly classical art and good design. For me, one of the saddest things is seeing people whine about museum visits.
I don’t expect my kids LOVE art in a particular way, but I want them to understand why and how art can be relevant in their lives. With my Twins at 6 years now, my goal is simply to acquaint them with classical art and make them feel less intimidated when approaching it. Children best respond to impressionist and abstract. What is better than introducing them to one of the best impressionist artist of our time and my favourite Vincent Van Gogh?
Why Van Gogh? Although Van Gogh is one of my favourites, I read this research article on difference in Eye movement patterns of children and adults looking at paintings in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum. In this study of Eye-Tracking Project, the data revealed, that children started by focusing on the stand-out features of each painting (the brightest colours, the most obvious items) while adults initially focus on the more understated features of the painting. After curators read descriptions of the artwork to both children and adults, the children altered how they looked at the paintings and began focusing on the less salient features. The adults continued using top-down processing, unmoved by the descriptions.
When a child improvises a melody or imagines a sculpture, they’re learning to brainstorm – a vital skill for all academics, but a difficult one to teach. When they discuss why they like or don’t like a painting, they’re developing an argument, and learning to support one. Art experiences also teach children to use reason, invention, observation, discrimination, and problem-solving skills.
Today, I’m excited to share with you some simple ideas for incorporating an artist study on Van Gogh into your children. Friends, you can do this study with kids of ALL ages. Starting from those little preschoolers all the way up to your high school kids! Take a look at these resources, choose a few that fit your family and get started!
Start with a biographical sketch of the artist. Read a few books on Van Gogh, do a few art projects, copy a few of his famous quotes. Voila! Simple artist study that is enjoyable for the entire family. Many of these books listed below have Van Gogh’s famous artwork throughout the illustrations, however, if you want to view more of his artwork, take a look at this website.
I am listing 3 of the books we read for our reference:
- Vincent Can’t Sleep, by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Mary Grand Pre. Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those night time experiments provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime, but he continued to pursue his unique vision and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time. 4-8 years
- Vincent’s Colors, by Vincent van Gogh and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vincent van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists. Throughout his life, he wrote to his younger brother, Theo, about his colorful, dynamic paintings. This book pairs the artists’s paintings with his own words. Van Gogh’s descriptions, arranged as a simple rhyme, introduce young readers to all the colors of the rainbow and beyond. The descriptive words combine with spectacular reproductions of many of the artist’s most beloved and important works to create a perfect art book. 5-8 years
- Van Gogh and the Sunflowers By Laurence Anholt . Young Camille befriends a strange visitor to his small town. One day, he brings this man a gift of bright, beautiful sunflowers. The man is Vincent van Gogh and the sunflowers quickly become the subject of a magnificent painting. 6-9 years
ART ACTIVITY: Starry Night
Hands-on activities allow kids to immerse themselves in the paintings. At the same time, it’s a great way to improve their motor skills and creativity! This activity is creating a mixed artwork of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. We did “cut and paste” for the huts, paint for the skies and crayons for the moon and the rest of the background.
This project was super fun and engaging for both me and the kids and I know that we will be doing this again soon! Van Gogh’s Sunflowers would also be a great painting to try or learn about some new artist may be? Till then keep painting….
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