Kids Art Project based on Van Gogh Sunflowers

We used oil pastels to create drawings like Van Gogh's Sunflowers.

Van Gogh was a troubled man for much of his life. He only sold a few paintings, cut off part of his ear and ended his own life. Although the documentary I watched on Van Gogh was interesting, I'm not sure I would recommend it for children.

The books Van Gogh (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) and Van Gogh and the Sunflowers (Anholt's Artists Books for Children) were much better choices for the kids. His favorite color was yellow and he liked to put lots of paint on his canvas. In fact, he used so much it was common for him to ask his brother Theo for money to purchase more paint. Van Gogh was inspired by Japanese Art and other artists from his time, but because he didn't follow the conventional painting standards he wasn't able to sell his work. Unfortunately his innovation made him unpopular in his day, but it is precisely his innovation that made him a great artist.

After watching this tutorial by a talented nine year old artist named Sophia, we created our own Van Gogh inspired oil pastel pictures.

The first step was creating the vase. The top of the vase was a strait line drawn just below the mid-line of the paper.

After drawing a large vase, the next step was the flowers. Several flowers were drawn and then the space in between was filled with flowers behind the initial flowers. This step in layering was an entirely new concept for all three children and an excellent lesson.

After the flowers, some stems and leaves were drawn and the sketch was outlined.

Then the fun began as the outlines were filled with color.

I am continually amazed at how different projects turn out when everyone has the same materials and instruction.

Left: Work of my 10 year old son. Right: Work of my 6 year old daughter.

Left: Work of my 12 year old daughter. Right: My sunflowers.

More of our art projects can be found on our Arts and Crafts Page.

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  1. This is a really great tutorial. You have some talented artists in your family! We did something like this once, but we used paint with some cornstarch in it to get Van Gogh's thick textured look. Great fun.

  2. Awesome! This is exactly how a great art activity should be, that each person turns out a uniquely personal piece of work while receiving the same set of instructions. All your art works are really unique and very beautiful!

  3. Beautiful! I love working on art with my daughter, too!


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