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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Studying Van Gogh in Our Homeschool

This post contains affiliate links. 

Studying Van Gogh in Our Homeschool, includes art projects, links to free resourcesThis year we’ve been doing a combination of art projects and picture study in our homeschool and for the past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on Vincent Van Gogh, one of my favorite artists.

I love his bold colors, his minute attention to detail, and the way he infused the canvas with living emotion.  There is nothing flat or uninteresting in a Van Gogh painting. 


Wheatfield with Crows, 1890. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam



Self-Portrait, 1887, Art Institute of Chicago



Sunflowers (F.458), repetition of the 4th version (yellow background), August 1889.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam


You can see Wheatfield with Crows and other Van Gogh paintings literally come to life in the “Crows” portion of Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams.  Watch a short portion here: 


To read a biography of Van Gogh and view several of his best works onscreen, visit Garden of Praise. 

If you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you’ll also find some online and printable activities, including a crossword, memory puzzle, and more. They also have a nifty Van Gogh slideshow here.  This is one of my favorite sites for free art appreciation resources.

Each week in our homeschool, we have been looking at and discussing one of his paintings. 

I’ve loved using the high quality prints and picture study pages from the Famous Artists Notebooking Set, but you could also view your prints online or print them from Garden of Praise or elsewhere.  Picture study can be done orally or kids can create their own notebooking pages from scratch.

Van Gogh Picture Study Homeschool

Van Gogh Picture Study HomeschoolOur art projects have been inspired by Van Gogh, rather than attempts to copy his work or technique.  Really, we’ve just been having fun with different media, color, and form.

In honor of Starry Night, we made chalk pastel paintings on large sheets of black construction paper.

Van Gogh inspired chalk artMary (age 12)


Starry Night inspired chalk artPeter (age 11)


Exploring chalk art paintingEmma (age 7)


Chalk art Me (yes, Mom got in on the act, too)


Then I found this need idea from Harmony Art Mom to do a watercolor painting collage.  While it might pair more readily with an abstract artist’s work, it seemed a great way to look at color, so the kids gave it a go.  I’m going to show you the original watercolor they each painted, followed by the final collage.


watercolor painting

The amazing thing about Emma’s painting was that when it was cut into squares and we looked at each one separately, they looked like mini landscape paintings.  The overall finished piece was truly a transformation.  She decided to so an asymmetrical configuration for her collage:

watercolor painting collage


watercolor painting 2

Peter started out with a bold painting of a monster lizard.  Here’s is collage:

watercolor painting collage 2

Mary’s began with an intricate design:

watercolor painting 3

Any of her squares looked like mini abstract paintings.  She decided on an intricate layout for her collage:

watercolor painting collage 3

We had a lot of fun with this project and the kids were thrilled with the results.

What art have your kids been creating?

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  1. Van Gogh was my eldest son's favorite artist. When we went to Paris, we couldn't drag him away :)

    1. You might have to drag me away, too---what a great opportunity. :)

    2. Haha, don't think I walked away easily! But we had the whole city to see in just a few days!


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