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Concentric, Colorful Swirls

Create colorful pictures with super swirly lines, much like famous artist Vincent van Gogh. The brilliant colors magically appear with Crayola® Color Explosion™ Markers and Paper!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Show students art by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and share a little about his life. He battled illnesses and many setbacks. Sometimes he felt dizzy with frustration. When he created his paintings, this dizziness came out as great swirling lines of paint. Van Gogh really loved to show how he felt with the colors he used, too.
    2. Students can achieve a similar effect without being dizzy! Awesome Crayola Color Explosion Paper and Markers assure brilliant colors every time!
    3. Students plan how they want their swirls to look. Use van Gogh’s Starry Night for inspiration. The drawing might include important features such as mountains, cypress trees, stars, and buildings. Students create swirls any way they wish!
    4. With the Color Explosion Paper and Markers, students draw the most important features first. To make thick lines, hold the marker at an angle. For thin lines, hold it straight up and down.
    5. Outline the basic objects, then add lots of swirly lines around them. Fill areas with swirling lines that follow the same path.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    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.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by Joan Holub; The Yellow House: Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side by Susan Goldman Rubin; Vincent's Colors by Vincent van Gogh

    Provide students the opportunity to research other works of van Gogh's professional life. Encourage students to create an illustration similar to those. Students include a paragraph identifying and describing the van Gogh work and their original interpretation.

    Research other artists who used distinctive styles and bold colors. Students emulate their styles using Crayola Color Explosion Paper and Markers. A summary paragraph should accompany the original work.

    Encourage students to search their local environments for concentric circles that may occur in nature, geometry, textile designs, and other places. Organize a class blog for students to post their findings to regularly.


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