Wednesday, October 1, 2014

3rd Grade: Georgia O'Keeffe Landscapes

Ok, this is a project that I have been waiting AN ENTIRE YEAR to do!  I saw it on my blog roll via Painted Paper while I was in the middle of my usual fall birch tree paintings with 3rd grade.  I usually do a fall, winter, and spring birch tree project with that level in order to teach depth in a landscape but I wanted to change it up a bit this year.  I really love the birch trees but I am actually getting tired of doing them so I switched to this project for the fall landscape.  What's great is that it only took us two class periods to complete these, whereas the birch tree paintings take 3-4, and when you only see the students once every six days, that's a lot of time to stretch out a project.

This is also an awesome project to do because I live in Northern New York, not very far from Lake George where Georgia O'Keeffe painted these!  Many of my students have been there on vacation so it was a way for them to connect to O'Keeffe and the project we were doing.

I basically took the directions for this project verbatim from Painted Paper.  After I presented Georgia O'Keeffe using a power point, we discussed depth and how to make things look farther away or closer to you in a painting.  On that same day, we painted the sky first using light blue paint and we dabbed white in to make clouds.  Next, we left a space and painted the water using dark blue.  I showed students how to streak in white and black to give the illusion of light reflecting off the lake.  Lastly, we added mountains in between the water and sky using brown and a little bit of black paint.

On the second day, we talked about depth again.  We looked at O'Keeffe's fall landscape again and then observed the trees outside the classroom, noticing the difference in details that can be seen in the trees right outside the window versus across the street.  I demonstrated how to dab the yellow and red paint together to create fall trees (also a quick review on primary and secondary colors!).  Some students chose to add a thin line of trees at the base of the mountain.  Once they finished the trees, I had them get a skinny paint brush to add tree trunks and branches to the foreground trees.

My example, from start to finish.


  1. I loved this when Painted Paper posted the lesson, and your students did a terrific job with it! Beautiful! Since I live just a few miles from Lake George, where Georgia O'Keeffe did the paintings that were the model for this lesson, I can tell you that it is beginning to look very much these pics around here right now.

  2. Beautiful! I am sure Georgia is smiling right now! :)