Monday, November 17, 2008

Their Own Starry Night

Gosh, I'm going to regret starting this entry when the alarm goes off at 5am...but here I am bragging on a few of my students. I feel guilty posting these because there are countless other awesome examples of this to share! Last month, my 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders did a "mixed media" project using oil pastel and collage to a project based on Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (above, 1889). I had them use the oil pastel for the background/sky portion (this was also a "space" lesson about background to foreground and a lesson about following directions in using certain materials in certain places while having their own creative license) and created their own "starry night". Then they added their mountains and then the village.

In the closest foreground they could add the spooky tree that Van Gogh had, or they could do a main house, or "haunted" house if they preferred. I made sure to emphasize that they could turn this project into their own "Starry Halloween Night" if they wanted. That way, the kids that wanted to do the Halloween thing certainly could, and those that didn't want to (or weren't allowed to) didn't have to. So far, there hasn't been any bad fall-out from overly sensitive politically correct parents. Yay! If I have time later, I'll tell my angry-parent- story from my "Scream" (Edvard Munch) lesson from last year. Oy.

These examples are just a few from this age group. Like I said, there are DOZENS other classic examples from these 2nd-4th graders. I feel bad that I can only share these three! But I don't want to bombard the blog with picture after picture (I get enough of that at work when I see awesome artwork after awesome artwork after awesome artwork. Too much stimuli for me! lol No wonder I'm doing 4 hundred million things at once! When will cloning be perfected?)

And okay, I know I said THREE, but how can you choose just three? or four? Seriously? How can you? I have three classes from each grade. These are just 4 examples out of about 180 students!

Sure, I didn't tell the students that Van Gogh painted Starry Night while in an asylum in 1889, but the way I've been running around trying to keep up with the kids' work and be an artist, teacher, mom and wife at the same time, the asylum stuff makes sense! lol (no offense to Van Gogh and his "issues", but let's face it, some of the craziest artists did the best stuff!) To quote Don McClean from his classic "Starry Starry Night" about Van Gogh: "The world was never meant for one as beautiful as you." If you haven't heard that song recently (or at all) give it a listen. There are plenty of slide shows on YouTube with that song. Better yet, I'll link it. Go to this YouTube: I showed this particular slideshow from this link on YouTube to some of my middle school students last year (before YouTube got blocked. Grrrr)


  1. I agree that there is some awesome talent there! But the teacher must be pretty awesome as well. I think the parents should be very pleased to put any one of those pictures up in their home. They are absolutely 'frameable'.

  2. Jill,

    Thanks for the blog - helps us keep up to date on the Arizona Henrichsens. Great examples of kids' artwork, too. I am always amazed by how well young people do, especially since I have no artistic ability.