Description of the Unit – Students observed and discussed Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting, Starry Night, and, using what they noticed in the painting regarding color, texture and movement, attempted to recreate it in oil pastel.
Objectives – Students will: intentionally express a sense of texture and movement in a recreation of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Activity statement – Even as young as 1st grade, children really get excited by Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, Starry Night. From my experience witnessing their reactions and interpretations, students respond to Van Gogh’s obvious use of brush texture to express the movement of the wind and the twinkling of the stars. I’ve heard my students use the words “furry,” “feathery,” “rough,” “wavy,” “fuzzy,” and “velvety” to describe the painting. I ask them if they notice any movement? This is how they eventually understand that the swirls in the painting represent the wind, and the rings around the stars illustrate twinkling. Students also call out van Gogh’s use of mostly blue, with contrast expressed in the yellow of the stars.
I invite students to recreate Starry Night using oil pastels, keeping texture and color especially in mind. We use oil pastels as it is a more accessible way for 1st grade students to create their own version of Starry Night while also being able to illustrate the same sense of texture and movement. They worked hard at this very difficult endeavor, and many were quite pleased with the results.
Goals – Students should…
- As simply as possible, what “movement” and “texture” means when describing a two-dimensional work of art.
- What texture means
Be able to:
- Effectively use oil pastels to demonstrate similar texture, color and movement as expressed in Starry Night.
Resources and materials –
- An example of Starry Night
- What do you notice about this painting?
Evaluation – Did students:
- Understand the meanings of texture, movement and rhythm?
- Effectively recreated Starry Night?
- Student questions
- Group discussion
- Oral responses to questions
- One completed recreation of Starry Night