Taratories Blog

Georgia O'Keefe Lesson

I decided to teach my homeschool art classes about Georgia O'Keefe today.  She was known for her many large flower paintings, but I thought I would focus on the subjects she was not as famous for and that was the animal skulls.  She painted a variety of animal skulls she would find in the deserts of New Mexico.  


This is a wolf skull (borrowed from my father-in-law).  Don't ask me why he has it.  It is kind of creepy, but kind of cool at the same time.  I love the coloring of the skull with the variations in white and earthy tones.  The sleek nature and smoothness of the skull are some things that I really enjoy.  I had never spent much time looking at or handling a skull before, so I got more familiarized with it and saw the beauty in it as I spent time painting.

I see why Georgia found the skulls interesting to paint, and I see how looking closer at something from nature or from life can give one a deeper appreciation for the subject.  Georgia brought the inside parts of a flower to our attention, and by doing so, she helped us appreciate the beauty there.  By handling and painting this skull, I found beauty where I never suspected to find beauty before.  I know it probably sounds strange to some people that I found a wolf skull beautiful, but in a weird way, I really do!  I am determined now to stop and pick that stone up on the edge of the pathway and feel it.  Look at its "imperfections".  Experience feeling the texture.  Note the various shades of color.  See the beauty.

Something I read in this book about Georgia was really interesting.  She explained how an artist she met told her that "Pictures should be 'composed' like a piece of music- but with colors and lines instead of sounds and melodies.  A picture contains rhythms just like music.  And the shapes should be clear and simple, so that the "essence" of an object could be clearly seen."  I just LOVE this and it totally makes sense to me. I have never heard anything like that in my life and it really resonates with me!  I feel like I got more of an art lesson than my students did!

Mosaic Hearts

This week's art class we were celebrating Valentines Day by making our own mosaic hearts.  First the students started by choosing two watercolor colors to paint with.  I showed them how to use watercolors to create different values.  By adding more water on the brush they made strips of watercolor paper that had a value scale beginning with the darker value and ending with the lightest value.  Kids have a tendency to want to use watercolor paint like it is acrylic paint, so I had to keep reminding them not to load up their brushes with the paint.  

After painting their strips, they drew a heart on their paper and then cut up the value strips randomly so they would have pieces to use for their mosaic hearts.  The instructions were to start gluing the darker value watercolor pieces around the edges of the heart.  From there, they were to get progressively lighter towards the center of the heart.  This would give them more of a three dimensional heart as it would in the same way if you were shading a heart with pencil, etc.  

Some students cut larger mosaic pieces and some cut smaller, narrower shaped pieces.  I loved all the different variations of hearts!

They were allowed to mix their 2 colors, or even trade with their neighbor for colors they wanted.

I also gave them a choice to cut mosaic pieces into recognizable shapes.  I suggested that they cut out shapes of things that they loved.  I love how this heart came out, and I think they all turned out beautifully!

                     Happy Valentines Day!