Sunflower Paintings

Sunflowers on a French Tablecloth

This week the sunflowers at Trader Joe’s called to me.  Bright and beautiful they are the warmth that this lingering winter sun cannot offer me.  So this week I worked with my preschool children as well as with my 11 year old art student to draw and paint them.  With my own children I first drew for them a simplified sunflower on the chalk board.  A tiny circle, a larger one around it and then two curved lines that each start at the larger circle and then come to a point for each of the petals.  My poor three year old was frustrated from the get-go.  The four and five year old absolutely loved the project.  I even tried drawing the flower myself for my little one and suggested how she might paint it but she insisted on doing her own thing which was just fine.  (And all of this was only accomplished because the baby was asleep.)

We drew the flowers in crayon and then painted painted on top with water colors.  Here are the results:


The Three Year Old Girl:

Three Year Old Art


The Four 1/2 Year Old Boy:

Four Year Old Painting of Sunflowers


The Five 1/2 Year Old Girl:

Five Year Old's Painting of Sunflowers


Later in the week my 11 year old art student came over.  She is home schooled and so we were able to come up with a fantastic trade.  I teach her art while the children are supposed to be upstairs in their rooms “resting” and then she helps me for a couple of hours before my husband comes home.  This week’s project took quite some time.  We had been building up to drawing using the sight-size method.  Teaching her to measure was a little tricky so I decided to shelf that idea for the time being.  Instead I had her measure the size of the entire subject and then I proceeded to draw from my perspective and I had her imitate my own drawing.  She drew on tracing paper so that we could transfer the final work onto a piece of watercolor paper.  This is her drawing which took about an hour to finalize and then go back over all of the true lines with a heavy hand:

Sunflowers on Tracing Paper

After her drawing was complete I had her flip her drawing over and set it on top of a piece of watercolor paper.  I then had her draw over each of her lines again to transfer the image to the paper.  We had used carbon paper to transfer images in a past project so the idea of transferring an image was familiar to her.  After the image was transfered I showed her how to paint wet onto dry and to use watercolor pencils to add texture.  She then added some of her own decorative elements to the painting after I gave her some basic instruction.  We has spent so long on careful and specific observation at the drawing stage I really wanted her to let loose and have a little fun at this point.  Here is her own drawing with mine below.  You can see the similarities since she was using mine as the model:

Eleven Year Old's Sunflower P


Watercolor of Sunflowers




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