Are you looking for a painting project where everyone will feel successful? This Georgia O’Keeffe inspired flower art project is perfect for elementary students.
Discussing and analyzing O’Keeffe’s flower paintings with children can be a lot of fun. Her artwork is perfect for getting young kids to draw large and think of composition in a new way.
When discussing her art with kids get them to notice how some of her flowers are zoomed in. This can be a great way how to introduce composition and how to use the whole page.
Even the youngest students will be able to see how the compositions are different than a typical flower artwork.
Questions to ask when observing O’Keeffe artworks
- Did she draw large or small?
- Do all of the petals look the same?
- What details was she observing?
- Did she change the painting to reflect her feelings?
- What do you notice about the colors in the petals?
- What art elements do you notice that she used?
- Where was she standing when looking at the item?
- What feeling do you get when looking at her artwork? Why?
Option To Draw From Observation
If doing this project with one young child take them outside and really look at flowers. If it is Winter, you can pull up different images of flowers. They could even do thumbnail sketches of what they are noticing in the yard.
Any young child can draw from observation. Obviously, this can be harder if you are doing this project with a whole class. But getting them to think about the details of flowers and nature will be a good starting point.
How To Encourage Creativity in Elementary Lessons
- When demonstrating, I’ll draw a little then you will draw a little, but does that mean ours should look exactly alike?
- They always say, “No, we should make ours different”
- Encourage them to take their time
- Tell them “that is what makes art so special, we can all do it in our own way”
Yes, this project has an element of directed drawing. It is always best to give a starting point, but you can always remind kids that they are special and unique during every project!
How to Create an Easy Flower Resist Painting
Ages: all ages
The examples you are going to see in the post are from 5 and 6-year-olds. This project would be awesome to repeat with the youngest kiddos or add more drawings from observation with the older artists.
- 12 x 18″ heavy drawing paper or watercolor paper
- Oil pastels (these are the ones that will last all year with your children)
- Tempera cake palette or watercolor paint palette
Note About Examples
I always draw in sharpie so children (and you) can see better. However, I would encourage your little ones to draw in pencil first and then go back and outline.
How To Draw An Easy Flower
Step 1: Draw Center
Draw the center of the flower. Encourage the center to be placed in different areas or different shapes.
Step 2: Draw Petals
Draw petals with some going off the page. If children do not draw large enough, they can always add a second flower or another round of petals.
Step 3: Overlap Petals Of Different Sizes
Show how to layer petals and show real examples of overlapping petal shapes. You could even show examples of radial symmetry and how it appears in nature.
See our step-by-step tutorial for radial designs in this radial symmetry lesson.
Step 4: Add Unique Extra Details
Ask what else might be seen in a flower? Seeds? Butterflies? Ladybug
Optional: Outline With Black Permanent Marker
Once drawings are done with a pencil, use a large marker.
I love using Marks-A-Lot large markers to get a thicker line, especially if doing these on 12 x 18 white drawing paper. Without prompting, this five-year-old chose to make some lines thicker with just a regular permanent marker.
Add Color To Flowers With Oil Pastels
If you want to take this to another level you could allow students to have time to learn by discovery or experiment.
- Allow kids to practice blending different colors to see the color combination they like best.
- Have them use those colors in the insides of the flower petals, but encourage them to leave some areas blank. The blank areas are where the paint will “stick”.
Tips for using oil pastels with children
- Practice beforehand
- Let them experiment with blending colors
- Encourage children to discover which colors work well together
- Give them a paper towel to help clean oil pastels
- You can always build on oil pastel techniques like showing scraffito or using baby oil to help blend the colors.
Only Add Oil Pastels In Some Areas
Add oil pastels to flowers in some areas. Demonstrate how to blend oil pastels from the center out of the flower.
You can tie in the color wheel and show students that warm colors may blend better together than colors opposite the color wheel.
Paint Reminder Of Flower and Background
Demonstrate how to use tempera cakes with young students. Children can enjoy using a water-based paint of their choice to finish their large flower artwork.
What tempera cakes do we recommend?
I have had great success with the Jack Richardson tempera cakes. They seem to last through multiple classes and children. They also are a little easier to clean than some of the softer tempera cakes.
You can get these sets in a variety of colors and can honestly get away with just putting one palette on a table for each group of children.
Tips For Using Tempera Cakes With Children
- Show them how to “activate” the tempera cakes before using them.
- Keep a good hair day on your brush (do not smoosh the bristles).
- The paint should flow smoothly from the brush.
- You could activate the paint beforehand by spraying water before the class starts.
- We also have seen teachers place each tempera cake in a cup and add water to it.
Art Project FAQs
If you water it down enough, you may find success. You need the paint to be thin enough so that the oil pastel will show through.
You could use crayons and watercolor paint. Make sure that kids press hard enough with the crayons so that the wax will resist the watercolor paint. And vice versa, that they are using watercolor paints correctly in order to be transparent enough.
Looking for an easy flower sculpture project to complete for your young elementary-aged children? We love creating these simple clay pinch pot flowers with first-grade artists and this fun flower craft in kindergarten.
- Water container with water
- Paint brush
- Draw a large zoomed-in flower. Start with the center of the flower.
- Add petal lines to go off the page.
- Add details such as insects, pollens, leaves and stems. Encourage children to be creative.
- Optional: outline the drawing with a large permanent marker.
- Use oil pastels to blend colors in some of the petals.
- Use tempera cakes to fill in white spaces.
- Allow projects to dry.
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