Art Smart: A Lesson in O’Keefe, Art Critique & Pastels

by This is Carrie on March 18, 2011

As the first woman artist and the first American artist we’ve talked about during the Art Smart lessons, I was thrilled to introduce the kids to Georgia O’Keefe’s life and art.  During the critique portion of the lesson, we discussed what made O’Keefe’s flower paintings so unique (the size of the flowers) and what she might have been trying to say to people by painting them so large.  They brought up words like beauty, detail, & appreciation.

They also came to the conclusion Georgia O’Keefe must have thought cattle skulls were also beautiful even though most people might not think so.

I brought a basket full of interesting flowers for the kids to use as for the Georgia O’Keefe inspired artwork.

The unexpected challenge was to get the kids to really examine and draw the flower they picked instead of the flower in their head.  I also had to constantly encourage them to draw bigger and bigger and insist the resist the urge to add a sun into their picture because, like we learned from Georgia O’Keefe, this project was all about the flower.

I was so impressed with their beautiful pieces of art created with chalk pastels.

Find more Art Smart Lessons HERE


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

jonita mortensen March 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

There is some real talent displayed in the children’s drawings. We just need this kind of activity in our schools to give children the opportunity to express these hidden talents. Love what you’re doing. So proud of you. I love the arts!


Erin March 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I’ve never told you how much I love your Art Smart lessons. I have recreated almost all of the projects and done them with my girls. Thank you!


This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

Thanks so much for commenting Erin! It means a lot to me to know that the Art Smart posts are useful to others.


Maggie March 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Question: who funds the materials? Do you contribute them as part of your volunteer duties or does the school give it to you?


This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

Last year, the six art classes were primarily funded by a generous benefactor and our family. This year, we tried to get donations from parents at the beginning of the year and fell very short of our goal. Unless we an find another generous benefactor, we will only be able to do 3 classes this year (and that’s only because we have a lot of supplies that are still useable from last year. The school can’t afford it and the PTA can’t fund anything that doesn’t benefit the entire school and I can’t take on classes for more than one grade level right now and other parent volunteers are hard to find at our school.


Kimberly March 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I love that the kids were exposed to Georgia O’Keefe1 I’m from Santa Fe, NM which is considered “Georgia country” to the locals and yes, cow skulls are gorgeous! It’s not uncommon to find them mounted above people’s “kiva” fireplace…in fact we had one mounted above ours. To me her paintings are gorgeous and she captures Santa Fe and the surrounding landscrape perfectly! It would be a group loop to add onto any Southwest road trip! Kuddos to you!


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