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Lesson Plans

Georgia O'Keeffe ideas

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Barry Teghtmeyer (
Fri, 01 May 1998 16:24:05 -0500

I have done several things to introduce Georgia O'Keeffe to elementary students....
On the second grade level , we have created flower garden murals. By folding a 5' piece of dark blue roll paper in half horizontally and then into thirds vertically it works well for 6 kids at a table. That way, each kid has an "area" to work in. One side of the table draws the top of the garden with flowers and taller grass. The other side draws the bottom of the garden including bugs, snakes, birds etc. After the garden mural has been drawn in pencil, I then have them go over the pencil line in black paint, the fill in the areas with bright colors. I always make the designation of top and bottom so that the 2nd graders realize that one of the groups must draw upside down or everyone work from the same side of the table. They look great! We had briefly introduced O'Keeffe and then discussed primary and secondary colors as a concept.

With fourth grade, watercolor paintings work well. Using a 9x9 inch white drawing paper , have the students draw enlargements of plastic flowers that are on the tables. Using a wet on wet watercolor technique allow the students to complete the paintings. The secret is to use glue mixed with India Ink in glue bottles to outline the flowers during the next art period ---they look fantastic!

Also with fourth grade, discuss the value seen within O'Keeffe's paintings--I have used Ranchos Church as well as many others. Allow students to find the light values and the dark values of the same color. Then, create a value scale using only black and white paint. Using a 9x12
white drawing paper paint 2 inch strips of white, then adding just a touch of black each time so that eventually
the 2" strip of paint is entirely black.
During the next art period we discuss symmetry and look at some of the flower paintings that are symmetrical. We also discuss what a structure is...Like in the Ranchos Church. I then allow them to use the value scale as construction paper and cut out small shapes to create their own structure---but it must be symmetrical. I encourage detail by use of small shapes and gluing contrasting light values on top of dark or vise-versa. They really love to create castles, towers, all kinds of structures!

One last quick idea-- Try folding a 10x10 inch white drawing paper in half then turn the fold verical and fold it in half again. There now should be 4 equal squares. By looking at O'Keeffe, discuss the difference between geometric and organtic shapes. Discuss radial and symmetrical designs. Allow the students to create a radial design by drawing one organtic "flower-like" shape in the top right square, then turning the paper and repeating the process the same shape each time.... continue with other shapes until you have a flower-like radial design. Complete with watercolors and outline shapes in black thin-tipped marker. Always gets rave reviews on the bulletin boards!

Hope this has created some brainstorms for you or at least
a springboard for your own ideas! Barry from N.K.C

  • Maybe reply: croberts: "Re: Georgia O'Keeffe ideas"