If there is one thing in this world that I absolutely adore, it is looking at art. I have absolutely not a clue however, when it comes to doing the actual art. Half my life ago in an art class we were asked to raise our hands if we wanted to do art GCSE. I put my hand up, I was told to put it down. I wish I could remember the name of that teacher. Because of him I ended up doing Russian which was a COMPLETE disaster. My dad had to call the school, I switched to Spanish. To be honest that didn’t go much better. So here I am. 17 years later, my kids may not be artists either, but god help me, they will be well educated about artists.
In order to introduce them to painters and works of art I decided to start with Starry Night by Van Gogh. It’s a good starting point for littles. It’s a classic, the kids can relate to a nights sky in a way they probably (hopefully!!) wouldn’t relate to ‘The Scream’ per say, although later on I’m definitely showing them that. Another benefit of Starry Night is that it’s in the MoMA and hopefully next time we are home in NY I can take them in to see it.
Today our craft was a Starry Night color by numbers. Sadly this is a craft that you will need a printer for, as it would be incredibly tricky to replicate it by hand. The colors you need to complete the painting are numbered down the side of the page. I decided to make things extra specially easy for the kids (and my husband who was taking part!) and lay out numbered piles of materials. This helped Teddy, who can’t read solidly yet, and also offered them a selection of different media to try. J and William went straight for the markers, but my neat Mr Teddy wanted to only use pencil crayons, so I did too.
It was the most relaxing hour, coloring with the kids. We played our family music playlist on Alexa whilst we colored, and ate left over Easter candy as we worked. William in particular, who isn’t usually terribly neat, was so excited that his work was starting to look like the actual painting, that he tried his absolute hardest to stay within the lines. I had printed a copy of the painting in color, for us all to reference and I’d highly recommend having one on the table as you work for the kids to look at.
For the craft you will need
- Printer to print the template
- Crayons/markers/colored pencils in black, dark blue, light blue, yellow, orange, light green and dark green
- Template for color by numbers
Whilst we were all working on our masterpieces we talked about Vincent Van Gogh. I absolutely hate lying to kids, but also know approaching the topic of a suicidal Dutch painter, who shot himself in poverty having never sold a piece, probably is a bit much for a 5 year old and a 4 year old. However we did mention that he had died young, never sold a painting whilst he was alive, and painted Starry Night whilst he was in hospital. Whilst I of course hope none of my kids become mentally unstable, commercially unsuccessful, misunderstood geniuses, I do hope that they end up having the level of respect and admiration for each other that Theo and Vincent Van Gogh did for each other, and we talked about that relationship.
Once we were done coloring William and I sat down and read a ‘Read Works’ article about forms of art, specifically Landscapes. He found it pretty interesting, although it only briefly referenced Van Gogh. I’ve linked it below if anyone wants to give it a go. He answered the questions with ease, and so think we’ll come back to it if we end up covering Gainsborough.
All in all it was a very laid back, relaxing day. It was joyous coloring together, and I can’t wait for tomorrow, when all 5 of us will be together again. We’re going to be taking on a MUCH bigger ‘Starry Night’ project! Watch this space….
LINKS AND SOURCES TO RESOURCES