Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Observation Drawings

We visited an art museum recently and Honeypie has been fascinated with Van Gogh and his sunflowers.  Of course, it is hard not to love Van Gogh and his  vibrant use of color and paint technique, his bold drawings that are at times dream like. 
It is spring here and everything seems to have started sprouting and what a perfect time to start our observation drawings and paintings inspired by Van Gogh. 
Since we also started a nature journal, we have been talking alot about drawings from "imagination", "memory", "experiences/events" and from real-life (observational).  We have been going outside and just using our senses to see, feel, smell, hear and touch things all around us.  It is differetn, this kind of drawing.  We have been used to using our imagination alot.  But using our eyes to really experience textures, form, size...amongst things has really opened a new vocabulary for us and new experiences in terms of our paintings/drawings.

Today i read a book to honeypie about Van Gogh called, "Van Gogh and the sunflowers" by Lawrence Anholt.  A great book series by the way.  I love all the (Anholt's artist books for children)... will post more on that later as we experience them.
We read the book and then used a beautiful vase of sunflowers to paint from observation.  We talked about composition (as much as a child of 4 can understand...)  size of the vase, colors on the sunflowers, details and background.  I placed a set of watercolors next to her and gently guided her through her painting using my voice only.  I let her experience the material and what she chose to see and paint.  I interjected only to suggest or ask about what she saw and if she wanted to represent that on the page. 
i.e.  "what do you see through the vase?" me.  
" i see the flower stems", her.
"Do you want to put that in your painting?" me.
"yes, and also the water is not to the top of the vase i see a line" her... etc.

We had a great time painting... I think next time i will participate too!

"Van Gogh and the sunflowers" by Lawrence Anholt.

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