We have just finished a 5 week course with our students, grades 1-4 on Vincent Van Gogh. We started with an 8"x8" wooden box and focused primarily on Van Gogh's 3 paintings of his bedroom in Arles and his Starry Night in 1889. 

We teach this class in Spanish, and used this book and this book from Panamericana (in Colombia but the first book was found at our library in Brooklyn) for Van Gogh Spanish references. 

We used pages 96/97 from Hands-On Art Projects for inspiration in making Van Gogh's bed with paper board.  

The students keep a journal as they work and were encouraged to continue to refer to his paintings for their inspiration. On the last day they glued a timeline to the side of their diorama. 

They adhered cardboard to the back of the box and reinforced it with triangular side pieces. They referred to Van Gogh's Starry Night to make their own copy of his painting. After work with acrylics, they added final touches with chalk pastels. We made a large sunflower with non-hardening clay. 

We spoke briefly about Van Gogh's love for painting outdoors and made this oveja as an homage to his many paintings in pasture. We love Modeling Clay || Animals for help on making animals with non-hardening clay (our favorite is Sargent). 

One of our students cut a piece of cardboard for Van Gogh's brimmed hat. We used our Modern Artist set as inspiration for their peg doll painting. 

The doll on the left is Gaugin, the artist that was renting a room with Van Gogh at the time that he had his ear incident. We made a chair from clothespins, inspired by this video

Croquis = Sketch. Using this free pdf we were able to read Van Gogh's letters to his younger brother Theo in Spanish. We found this sketch of his bedroom that he sent his brother before making his painting. In this letter he also describes the colors he wanted to use for each item in the painting. We discussed the differences and similarities between his initial ideas and how the painting actually came out. 

We used this mold to make frames with hot glue. (Our students use low temp hot glue guns independently).

I am so impressed with this drawing by one of our fourth graders. And the drawing below with the fabric pasted beside it is equally as interesting by one of our second graders. 

We love using graphite paper, especially towards the end of the projects. Tracing is a very valuable practice for young artists, and it can be so satisfying for them to see the end result that it is well worth the effort. On the back of the boxes, we encouraged the students to transfer an excerpt of Van Gogh's letter to his brother in reference to the painting of his bedroom. 


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