Vincent van Gogh was born 1853 in Holland. It wasn’t until age 30 that he decided to become a full-time artist and lived in Paris where he met and studied with many talented, now famous, “impressionist” artists. Impressionism is a style of painting in which brushstrokes of bright colors are used to show the effects of reflected light. When van Gogh moved to Paris his style changed from a dark palette of colors to brighter colors, and he developed a painterly style of brush strokes that was uniquely recognizable. He went to Arles at the age of 35 and upon arriving painted landscapes and portraits full of vivid colors and passionate feelings.
Create a work of art inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. Also, learn more about the elements of a landscape such as background, middle ground, and foreground.
Anchor Standard #3
-Refine and complete artistic work.
Anchor Standard #5
Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
Anchor Standard #8
-Interpret intent and meaning in an artistic work.
Before starting this art lesson plan, discuss with students the difference between background, middle-ground and foreground. Tell them to look at “Starry Night” and notice how the tree is in the “foreground”. This is the part of your landscape that appears closest to you, so it appears bigger than the other elements of the landscape. The “middle-ground” of the landscape is the town. It lies between the foreground and background. The “background” of the landscape would be the mountains and the sky.
LIGHTLY in pencil have the kids draw a wavy line across the center of their paper. This line will determine the mountains and separate the background from the middle-ground. Now tell them to look at the brush strokes van Gogh used and how his brushstrokes showed the movement of the wind in the sky and the glow of the stars.
With magic marker or paint, have the children draw/paint their sky. Tell them to use their strokes to show movement in the wind like van Gogh did. Have them draw/paint halos with small strokes around their stars and moons to show how they twinkle at night.
Next have the students draw/paint their middle-ground. It can be houses or trees or whatever they wish, but it should look smaller because it is still far away from view. Allow to dry COMPLETELY.
Lastly, have the students draw/paint their foreground. Like van Gogh’s tree in the Starry Night foreground, their object should appear as the largest thing on their landscape because it is the closest to them.