Learning about Famous Artists
Featuring: Georgia O’Keeffe
Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso. Even if, somehow, you don’t know these artists, you’re almost certainly familiar with their work: The melting clocks. The uni-browed self portraits. The cow skulls. The Cubist forms.
As any art teacher well knows, budding artists need to have some understanding of modern art in order to grow. One writer put it like this: If the only thing you ever taste is sliced white bread, you haven’t tasted bread. In the same vein, if you only experience one type of art, you’re missing out.
In learning more about modern art, a student can expand his/her understanding of technique, and how artists function within a historical context (like the Industrial Revolution). They can even bear witness to the invention of a whole new school of art (like Cubism).
But conversations about Kahlo and O’Keeffe have a place outside of art class, too. Aside from taking a closer look at the works that grace our museum walls (and for that matter, our collective subconscious), students can learn a lot from the biographies of the artists themselves – about overcoming hardship, being original, and problem solving. Artists teach us so much – in the art classroom and outside of it.
That is why I have embarked on an ambitious project to create collaborative posters of each of these four artists and to create blog posts with lesson ideas, book recommendations and as many helpful resources as I can provide for you to make teaching about each of them as easy as possible.
This post is the first in a series of four and is all about Georgia O’Keeffe. It’s really hard for me to say I have a favorite out of these, however, I did live in Santa Fe, NM for some time so Georgia O’Keeffe is certainly high on the list.
**See my Facebook Live video HERE (or by clicking on the image below) where I talk about this post and the projects and ideas in it!**
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Life: Considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, O’Keeffe was born in Wisconsin and spent time in Virginia and at the Art Institute of Chicago, developing her artistic skills and a new form of abstraction. Some of her work found its way to the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who was the first to show her work at a gallery, and who later became her husband. She soon became known for her images of New York skyscrapers and very colorful flowers. While living in New Mexico shortly thereafter, O’Keeffe’s painting style changed, and she produced some of her most famous pieces, featuring the desert terrain. She began suffering from macular degeneration (declining eyesight) and painted her last oil painting in 1972; but she later enlisted the help of assistants to create still more art, inspired by images in her memory and imagination. She produced hundreds of works of art and lived to be 98!
Georgia O’Keeffe Collaborative Poster: My collaborative poster of Georgia O’Keeffe is a fun way to either start a lesson about her or end a unit of study – it also stands all on it’s own! The final poster (pictured below) is approx. 35″ x 42″ when complete.
The poster is made up of 30 pages (8.5″x 11″ paper).
Each child gets one piece of the overall poster and colors their portion of the poster.
Then when the pages comes together they get their “aha” moment when they see the iconic artists Georgia O’Keeffe looking back at them. Some teachers like to tell their students who they will be creating and others like to keep the surprise until the end. This is my preferred method because kids have so much fun trying to figure out “who” it is as they work.
There are two poster variations included in my resource. The first (described above) is really great for any age group as it requires that the children color the pages of the poster. The second poster variation is designed for secondary grades or upper elementary classes. It creates an easy way (for teachers) to create a grid portrait of O’Keeffe where each child draws their portion of the poster and works together to line up their pieces so that the final image works. Art teachers teach grid drawing all the time – this poster is designed to save time and remove a lot of the prep of teaching a grid portrait lesson of O’Keeffe. You can see the full resource HERE.
Georgia O’Keeffe FREEBIES:
Group collaboration posters are a lot of fun and serve an important role in having children work together, but at the end of the day students don’t get to keep anything. That is why I include bonus – individual resources in each of my collaborative posters.
Quote coloring pages for Picasso, Dali, Kahlo and O’Keeffe.
Unscramble the drawing for Picasso, Dali, Kahlo and O’Keeffe.
Unscramble – cut and paste for Picasso, Dali, Kahlo and O’Keeffe (pictured below).
Georgia O’Keeffe Large 3D Flowers: When you think of O’Keeffe probably one of the first things that comes to mind are flowers – large flowers! Try making your own large paper flowers with your students like I did with mine. You can see more pictures of the final flowers HERE.
Georgia O’Keeffe Painting: Years ago my husband and I create a very large oil panting that was greatly inspired by one of Georgia’s Paintings and from the time we spent in Santa Fe sounded by the sky, mountains and plants that inspired Georgia. Here is our painting:
This is something you can always do with your students – have them either re-create a famous painting (masters have done this for years) or use parts of a famous painting to inspire something new like we have done.
Georgia O’Keeffe Books: I almost never teach a lesson to my students without incorporating books in one form or another (see my blog post about reading in the art room HERE). I always have books available for students to look through and read when they finish a project. When I can work it in, I like to read to my students while they are working. The following list of books are all books I have personally used and really like. Please know that the following images (and links attached to them) are affiliate links to Amazon (see disclosure HERE).
…and you’ll never go wrong when you use a lesson from Deep Space Sparkle:
O’Keeffe Pinterest Board: Do you love Pinterest like I do? If so, follow my O’Keeffe Pinterest board to stay up on anything new I find to help you teach about O’Keeffe.
Thanks for reading. Coming soon will be posts about Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali that will be full of fun tips, background, and resources. Stay tuned!
Art with Jenny K. LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.