“Isn’t he that guy who cut his ear off?” one of my 5th graders asked upon arrival to class.
Well…. yes. And while that is unexpected and admittedly odd, there’s so much more to him than just that one story. We’ve been focusing a lot on various artists, art movements, and styles this year in 5th grade. Last year in 4th grade, students learned about impressionism when they created Monet inspired artwork. I thought it would be fun to introduce Van Gogh. A different style within a style. We compared and contrasted the work from these two impressionist artists. Students were quick to pick up on the different brushstrokes and color schemes. Each class focused on drawing a different Van Gogh composition. 5A focused on a field with a cyprus tree and 5B focused on a meadow of various trees and shadows. Before starting their sketches, we talked about Vincent Van Gogh and filled out a page in our Artist Booklet about the artist. Once that was complete, 5th graders got to work on their sketches! Here are the images we focused on in each class.We started off painting our sketches with a basic wash of color. I told students to create their own color schemes rather than to copy the colors Van Gogh used. Students washed a thin layer of watercolor paint over their landscapes. Next week, 5th graders will add small impressionistic details into their paintings with a fine tip paintbrush. They look great so far!