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Bright, Bold Botany

See flower parts through the eyes of a famous artist! Georgia O'Keeffe's florals are a young botanists' dream.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Georgia O'Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on November 15, 1887. She focused on close, intense observation in her art. Her subject matter was primarily natural forms, such as bones, landscapes of the Southwestern United States, and flowers. "Shapes jump out at me," she said.
    2. O'Keeffe's art, often close-ups of individual objects, sometimes crossed over from realism to abstraction because of her intense, precise way of looking at each object. She encouraged artists to "Try to paint your world as if you were the first man looking at it--The wind and the licat--and the cold--The dust and the vast starlit night...."
    3. Look closely at the following artworks by Georgia O'Keeffe: Red Canna, Shell No. 1, and Sky Above White Clouds. While you can see from the titles that these artworks have their basis in actual scenes or objects, they are so closely focused and clear of other objects that they seem nearly abstract. On the other hand, some of her work, such as Oriental Poppies and her Jack-in-the-Pulpit paintings are more recognizable and realistic.
    4. Identify the parts of a flower, and choose one to observe more closely. To create a floral painting in the manner of Georgia O'Keeffe, draw a large, simple outline of this flower with a Crayola® Crayon.
    5. Cover the table with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola Washable Watercolors to fill both the flower and the background with color. Include bold details and focus on the form. Dry.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts or relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks.

  • Adaptations

    In teams of 2, students investigate the life of a famous artist known for floral artwork pieces, such as Claude Monet (Blue Water Lilies); Georgia O'Keeffe (Oriental Poppies); Andy Warhol (Flowers); Hokusai (Bullfinch on Weeping Cherry); Henri Fantin-Latour (Roses); Van Gogh (Vase with Pink Roses), etc. Student teams organize an electronic presentation and upload it to a class computer for student viewing.

    Using white T-shirts, students design original floral scenes using Crayola Fabric Crayons. Plan a day or event when all students will wear their original T-shirts and speak about their artist research.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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