Vincent Van Gogh- The Man Who Used LOTS of Paint
Welcome to the next installment of the Artist Month at Play Eat Grow! We’ve learned about pointillism and Georges Seurat, circles and Kandinsky, and paper cut-outs and Mattise. Today we’re talking about my most favorite artist, Mr. Vincent Van Gogh.
Ever since I laid my young child eyes on a print of The Starry Night, I have been totally hooked. In college I visited my first Van Gogh art exhibit and my love grew even deeper. The rich, thick paint was bold and beautiful and made my heart pitter patter. I’m not even kidding.
A Van Gogh exhibit is coming to an art museum a couple hours away and since I most certainly want my kids to experience the richness up close, I decided to give them a little child-friendly introduction to who he was and some of his most popular work.
We started by watching a short 20 minute program about the life of Van Gogh. It was a cartoonish video that gave the kids a good overview of his life. I do want to warn you- the video did mention that he committed suicide, and while some have been disappointed by the video’s lightening of the mood around the suicide, I felt like it was an important part to talk about when talking about Van Gogh. We had already had a conversation about suicide when one kid had heard about it a few months earlier, so the kids weren’t unfamiliar with the idea. So, heads up about that and obviously you know your kids best and what they are/are not ready to be exposed to. That sensitive piece of information comes up around minute 18, so if you wanted, you could just be ready to stop it there.
The video emphasized how Van Gogh’s work wasn’t appreciated in his day, and he died without knowing who much people would adore his work years later. This in particular brought up a very interesting conversation about fame and notoriety and how sometimes its easy to miss the amazingness of something or someone in our everyday lives. I think i sometimes forget that the desire to be known and loved on a grand scale– and the desire to leave a legacy- starts early in our hearts.
Next, we did a little Van Gogh coloring. I have a coloring book back from my college days that I had only colored in once, so I let the kids pick out their pictures, made copies, and we spent the afternoon coloring– some of the kids wanted to match the colors of Van Gogh’s originals. Others of us wanted to deviate and try our own hand in color combinations. The kids used the iPads to find the pictures to look at while they colored.
The final part of the process is to go and see Van Gogh’s work in real life!
And while we didn’t do painting during our Van Gogh weekend, I think it’d be fun to try out some painting with thick acrylic paints mixed with PVA glue to add thickness to the painting. I like how Abi’s Art Skool did their paintings. I’d like to take the kids to see his work first so they can get a chance to fully understand the amazing thickness with which he painted.