Van Gogh- Impasto Painting (Sunflowers)

by Davina Pyzer
Objective: To give students a chance to work with a technique of applying and working with thick paint. Introduce students to the artist Van Gogh and impasto painting.

Materials: Preparation: I read a story about Van Gogh's life. I discuss his many professions, how unhappy he was, and some of the styles he used. We define impasto painting as applying the paint thick as Van Gogh sometimes did in his work.

  1. Students discuss the parts and shape of a sunflower and practice sketching several at different angles.
  2. Teacher directs students in a few methods of applying the paint to create certain looks. (Mixing/Pulling the color, texture, background)
  3. Students practice simple methods as demonstrated by the teacher on a small sheet of construction paper.
  4. Teacher displays a vase of sunflowers (real or artificial) and discusses how the flowers face different directions. Show Van Gogh's original Sunflower painting as an example.
  5. Students are given a large piece of poster board (thick paper) for their final project. I have also used this for the cover of their portfolios at the end of the year.
  6. Students begin by choosing a flower to replicate from the vase. Using their popsicle-sticks, students apply the different colors of paint to create a thick painting of sunflowers.
  7. When complete the painting must dry for at least 24 hours.
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©   Deborah Padrick   2001