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Lesson Plans

Re: Georgia O'Keeffe

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 19 Jul 1999 19:29:20 EDT

In a message dated 7/19/99 3:56:50 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
kkorteling writes:

> At a middle school art exhibition, I saw some beautiful, large pastel
> drawings of flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe. I am wondering
> if anyone can share a lesson which results in these drawings?
> Thanks!
> Karen

Yes Karen, I can:

I have done a lesson with my Art 2's that uses the style of O'Keeffe. We
Start with brief but through talk/slide/examples of her work and life. I
also have a video of her being interviewed in person and with a history of
her works. This sets the kids to having to describe her style and focus
during the different parts of her life. We then talk about the close up
views of the flowers and how they are great compositions that use the format
and space to a great extent producing an area of emphasis, movement and
balance. The colors used sometimes show a contrast from the subject
(positive space) to the background (negative space).

I then set out small pots of flowers that I got from the nursery. I also
encourage them to bring in flowers from home that they like. WE make about
3-5 slow/involved and careful contour studies of the flowers. At the end of
the sketching process we discuss cropping the format to create a small
negative space and still have areas in and around the flowers. I also have
them shade in the fold, gradations and 3-d effect of the flowers as they see
it. Making notes as to colors and/or using colored pencils to reproduce a
small area will help them later.

These are then enlarged to be from 12'' X16" to 14X18"on newsprint. This can
be done with grids or by eye, which ever they like. The sketches are
transferred to cold press illustration board and three techniques for
watercolor are discussed: lifting (gradations), wet on wet, and wash.

After practicing these they start to paint the flowers using many layers of
soft thin watercolor washes. The backgrounds are painted to contrast in
values or by using complementary pairs. I stress using neutrals, yellow
ochre, burnt sienna, etc., to create natural colors for the layers so that
each layer is a little different.

After they are done they critique the paintings to see if they have captured
the style and essence of Georgia's paintings. These are by no means a copy
of her works but just the idea behind them. This can also be done with
colored pencils, using a layering effect and a white pencil to blend so that
the texture of the paper is still visible.

Ken Schwab
San Jose CA