Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles” Finding Perspective

Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles

Like our other Van Gogh art lessons, where I use an outline for our art appreciation lesson, I downloaded an outline drawing of Bedroom at Arles, which we coloured in using felt-tipped pens.

I found the Seven laws of Perspective at Heart Of The Matter and looked for a way to implement these principles in our Van Gogh Appreciation lesson.

We used several other art books to look for examples of these laws of perspective.  A quick and simple art appreciation lesson!

Here are my notes ~ Seven Laws of Perspective with simple outline diagrams of the perspective principles. Click on the link for your free download.

Van Gogh “Starry Night” ~ Art Appreciation

We enjoyed another delightful Van Gogh Art Appreciation activity which is suitable for young children and middle schoolers!

Starry Night

I saved the image and used it as a screen saver on our computer.  This is a good way to see the image often during the week.  Also, we could zoom in and really look at his brushstrokes, colours and details full-sized.

Next I traced the Van Gogh Starry Night outline – click the link for your free pdf download.  (Read about how I trace outlines of famous art works here.)   

I used the outline to save the girls time copying the drawing or using a grid, because there is so much detail in the picture and I wanted to spend the lesson time coloring and painting instead.

We used oil pastels.  First the girls coloured only the white and yellow areas on the white outline page with oil pastels.  This was not easy because you can’t see white on white!  And it had to be coloured in little strokes like Van Gogh’s.

Finding and filling all the white and yellow areas

Then we washed the page with black water-colour.  This was to have a dark background between the little strokes and to give a night-time feel to the picture.  The white and yellow moon, stars and windows really stood out!

Washing the page with black water-colour

Now the girls started to fill in areas.  They filled in the rest of the picture with all the blues, greens and other colors, using several different types of oil pastels; some thick and greasy, others with many shades of colours.  We all pressed hard to make thick, short stokes on the paper.  They sat at the computer, zoomed in and really looked to see what colours Van Gogh used.  This took some time, but already they were happy with their art as it began to look more and more like the masterpiece!

The dark greens, blacks and greys of the Cyprus tree

Swirling blues, whites and greys of the sky

All done, in just an hour or so!  They really appreciated how long Van Gogh must have worked on this masterpiece, how many colours he dabbed on the canvas and how these colours created movement and mood.  They loved this lesson!

Van Gogh’s Starry Night by Miss K, 10 years old

Van Gogh’s Starry Night by Miss L 7 years old

Here are some links I used to prepare this lesson:

Pop over to my Art Page for all the other art appreciation lessons.

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers ~ Art Appreciation Lesson

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

We looked at several images of his sunflowers online and in several art books featuring his most famous paintings. Once again, like our Van Gogh Irises lesson, I used flowers from my garden.   I set up a still life of sunflowers that had grown in my garden during summer.  The girls knew these flowers well!

Sunflower still life

Van Gogh has such a wonderful colourful style, full of swirls, dashes of paint and thick 3D stokes of colour.

Next we sketched the table line, vase outline and large flowers, petals, leaves and stalks.

Sketching sunflowers

Then we outlined the drawing with grey oil pastels.  I decided to use oil pastels for their rich, vibrant colour and thick opacity.  We coloured the flowers and vases, table-cloth and background using short strokes, creating swirls and dashes of colours. Then we intensified the colour by adding various shades and tones of that colour in between the spaces.  These were our finished results!

All our pictures ready for the “gallery”!

The girls loved this art project because it didn’t have to “come out perfectly.”  After studying his life story we recorded biographical details (using my Famous Impressionist Artists Chart.

We can’t wait for next week’s van Gogh art appreciation time… will we do “Starry Night”  or “The Bedroom” ?

Here are some sites that were very helpful with ideas, colouring pages and lesson plans: