Van Gogh’s Tree- Art for Children

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Art Classes are back in full gear here, and I am so glad to be back with the kids and all our paint. For our lesson yesterday I went back to one of my favorite artists, Vincent Van Gogh.

Vincent van Gogh's Mulberry Tree, The Painting

He’s one of my favorites for a first day of a new class, because I feel like he is the perfect example to the kids that art is what you make of it. There is no right and wrong. There is no one way to see the world. Van Gogh painted what he saw, but it is so different from what I see. I could sit down in front of the same mulberry tree in Saint Remy and my painting would not look at all like Van Gogh’s.

Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait Painting

Van Gogh had a difficult life. He struggled with mental illness, depression and heartbreak. Some of his most famous paintings, including Starry Night, were painted while he was in a mental asylum struggling to recover from an “attack” that lead him to cut off a portion of his ear. His work from this time in his life is made up of short, waving lines that make the entire world appear that it is in motion.

In art class, I had the kids look closely at the mulberry tree painting so we could also paint like Van Gogh. We looked at the color wheel to see that Van Gogh used complementary colors which caused the colors in the tree to “pop” and stand out from the rest of the page. We also looked at the texture that the different use of line gave the painting- the grass is short, straight lines. The leaves are curled and curvy. The sky again is strait, but its not smooth. It still “moves”.

I think the kids really enjoyed it, and they did a fantastic job panting their own swirly, whirly, Van Gogh style trees.


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  1. This is perfect! I’m totally pinning like crazy from your blog today, but this post is exactly how I want to learn about art with my kids. I’m doing research for our next round of learning and this is so perfect. I love your approach. I’ll also be sharing on my facebook page with my readers. Thank you, Heather!

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