Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Georgia O'Keefe Art Project for Kids

Teaching kids to watercolor can be fun! Today we're sharing a simple watercolor resist art project inspired by Georgia O'Keefe.

Georgia O'Keefe was most known for her paintings of large flowers, which is why we decided to make watercolor crayon resist flowers today.

RELATED: Are you following along with our Famous Artists series? Check out all of the Famous artist inspired activities here.

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How can you introduce watercolor to toddlers and preschoolers?

When I introduce watercolors to young children, I have three rules that I share with kids. These are just rules I made up. But they help make our first painting experience more positive.

1. We don't use black and brown.

Young kids are often drawn to black especially because it is such a contrasting and bold color. If kids want to use black, then we just do black and white paintings when they are getting started. When we are using a whole color palette, I remove the black and brown from the watercolor set or tape over them for the first few sessions.

If I don't, blacks and browns get used too frequently and paintings just turn into muddy messes that make kids frustrated and don't allow them to fully explore all of the color combinations they might discover. 

2. Always dip in the yellow paint first.

This rule is for when kids want to mix colors. I encourage them to take from the yellow first and then pull some of a darker color to mix colors. When they use the yellow second, it makes the yellow really muddy and dark. 

3. Don't let your paint brush get "thirsty."

This is my favorite saying while kids are painting with watercolors. We spend time practicing giving their brushes drinks at the beginning before they start painting. If they notice that their colors are fading and the paintbrush is making a scratchy dry sounds against their paper, their brushes are ready for a drink!

Keeping their paintbrush hydrated (but not saturated), will help them have a happier and less stressful painting experience.

How do you introduce Georgia O'Keefe to kids?

Georgia O'Keefe was an American artist best known for her large paintings of flowers, NY skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes.

Here are some Georgia O'Keefe resources:

READ: You can find so many great books about Georgia O'Keefe for kids HERE on Tablelifeblog.

WATCH: Georgia O'Keefe for Kids

Georgia O'Keefe Inspired Watercolor Resist Paintings



1. Start by looking at flowers and examples of Georgia O'Keefe's flower paintings.

2. Next, have kids make a sun in the middle of their paper using a pencil. And then draw a ring around that. That will be the center of the circle.

3. Next, have them make large petals that go from the center circle to the edge of the page, however they would like.

** For toddlers, I just draw the flower for them with pencil.

4. Next, have them outline their flower with crayons or oil pastel.

** Toddlers may want to draw on the pencil lines or make new ones. Either are fine. The goal is for them to enjoy the process of using the art materials. The end product is not important.

5. Now we are ready to paint! Kids can use whatever colors they want to paint their flowers. 

** Remember to remove the brown/black first or just let them know we aren't using those colors.

6. Remind kids to dip their paintbrush in water before they try and get color so that their brush doesn't get thirsty.

Encourage kids to paint all the way to the edges of their paper.

7. As they paint, encourage them to observe what happens when the watercolors go over the crayon or oil pastels. Can they paint over those lines?

8. Once they are done, let the art dry and then hang it to display.

After art projects, we always love to look at each painting and notice the colors that are used and try and give positive comments to each artist.

This is a great way to teach kids to notice art and it is also a wonderful activity to build toddler language skills.

Have you ever used watercolors with your kids? What are some of your tips?

Do you have any other favorite art activities for kids inspired by famous artists? Please share them with us!

You can find all of the art activities found in our Famous Artists series HERE.

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