Friday, May 21, 2010

Cottonball and Q-Tip Van Gogh Landscapes

I was inspired by the wonderful Van Gogh pieces at Painted Paper. I really wanted to do a beautiful rich Van Gogh landscape with my classes. But how do I avoid them from over-mixing the paint, creating one solid blue sky? My first thought was finger painting. So much fun, but maybe a little too messy. My 8 year old daughter joined me in painting with tempera and only cotton balls and Q-tips. We first lightly mapped out the sky line, hills and wheat field with pencil. Then the fun began. We simply swooshed and swirled the sky first, using lots of white and a little blue, tropical blue, purple and green. Next we did the hills with a new cottonball using greens, blues, and purple. The wheat field was created with swirls of red, orange and yellow. To add a couple Cyprus trees in the background we dipped Q-Tips in greens and blues and created the shape with small swirls. After our paint had dried we went over the wheat field with autumn colors using oil pastel. Van Gogh has those fantastic brushstrokes that really make his work come alive. So we tried to add some of that movement with oil pastel. We went over our trees with wavy lines in greens, blues and purples. My daughter did the top piece, mine is below and our inspiration, Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Cyprusses from 1889 is shown. These were a lot of fun to create.


  1. These look great...and a great idea I will try with my students!

  2. Very cool- I might have to try this with Starry Night!!!...I've also heard of teachers letting special needs students (or K/1st) do something like this, but instead, painting with small inflated balloons...something fun to try!!!

  3. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Your blog is AWESOME and now I know about it!!!! Love this VanGogh lesson too!

  4. I like this technique for a VanGogh work. I posted on movement in art and used my van gogh lesson as an example on my blog. I bet I could use your technique to enhance my multimedia project.



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