A classroom project centered on Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 painting of “Starry Night” can excite kindergartners about art while also encouraging their own creativity and imaginations. Brainstorming with your kindergartners about the use of color, texture and movement within this painting can help them use the same ideas creatively in their own forms of expression.
Discussing Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
You can begin by introducing van Gogh as an important French artist who loved color and the emotional power of painting, as illustrated in "Starry Night." You can help your kindergartners relate to these ideas by having them think about how they express emotions and how these feelings might impact their own drawings. You can then work with your kindergartners to examine the key elements of color, texture and movement either altogether as a class or broken into three groups, with each cluster of students exploring one of these three themes that they would then share with the whole class.
Project Emphasizing Color
You can have your kindergartners identify the colors they observe in “Starry Night and how they contribute to creating a nighttime scene. You can ask your kindergartners about how these colors work together, what feelings they bring up or how accurately they think they capture the nighttime sky. Then you can ask your kindergartners to experiment with these colors in their own paint, marker or crayon project. For example, you could ask them to imagine what colors van Gogh would have used for a daytime scene or you could have them create their own version of “Starry Night” using colors that express how they are feeling.
Project Emphasizing Texture
To have your kindergartners explore the use of texture in van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” you can have them talk about the texture and shape of the brushstrokes and perhaps brainstorm about what size brush van Gogh must have used. To further explore the role of texture, you can have your kindergartners create their own interpretation of “Starry Night” in different media, such as colored beads, paper cut-outs or dry pasta.
Project Emphasizing Movement
Your kindergartners can also tackle the element of movement conveyed in “Starry Night.” As they examine the swirling lines and dashes that make up the night sky, you can ask them to think about how these designs were created and what they were meant to represent. For example, your kindergartners might observe that these swirls seem to indicate a breeze blowing. Then you can ask them to create their own composition that illustrates a similar sense of movement through varied lines using pencil, crayon or marker.
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