Painting Sunflowers like van Gogh

Summer is the perfect time to pick up a bunch of sunflowers from the store, or cut a few from your backyard, if you have them, and invite your kids to paint!

Vincent van Gogh explored sunflowers repeatedly in his paintings, and they are great place to gather inspiration as you begin your project.

 

The Project...

  • Arrange the sunflowers in a vase, jar, or other container, and talk about how they look different when you change their position, and look at them from different sides. 
  • When everyone is happy with the arrangement and their view, set up your supplies. For this project tempera paint or pastels will work best.
  • Observe the shapes and colors, and then have fun creating a masterpiece!
Invite your kids to explore their creativity! Look at van Gogh's Sunflowers for inspiration, then they can paint their own... and even learn a super cool math concept in the process!
The sunflower is mine, in a way.
— Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh is known for his thick application of paint, and the energetic swirling of his strokes, but don't let this limit your kid's art. They should feel free to express themselves in any style they choose.

Invite your kids to explore their creativity! Look at van Gogh's Sunflowers for inspiration, then they can paint their own... and even learn a super cool math concept in the process!

Another "fun fact" you might want to casually throw into the conversation as they work is the Fibonacci Spiral that occurs in nature, and sunflowers are a perfect example. Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician in the middle ages who discovered a mathematical pattern (a spiral) that occurs over and over again in nature. You can see it in plants like pineapples, succulents, and sunflowers, you can find it in shells that spiral, and you can even find it in the arrangement of the sand when a swirling wind has drifted through. Show your child how the seeds spiral around in a perfect curved line from the very center of the flower out to the edge where the petals begin.

Invite your kids to explore their creativity! Look at van Gogh's Sunflowers for inspiration, then they can paint their own... and even learn a super cool math concept in the process!

It's not important to go into any great depth at this point– especially if your kids are young, but it is a fun concept to mention so they'll know that when artists like Leonardo da Vinci, and Vincent van Gogh (and many others) used this design phenomenon in their art, it all started when Fibonacci studied nature, and discovered a pattern. 

Let's connect!

Did your kids love painting sunflowers? Let me know in the comments below, or find me on social media! I'd love to see their art... use #arthistorykids to show it off.

Be sure to join our fun new Facebook group for the inside scoop on making the most of art time with your kids. See you in there!