General learning objectives
- The class will be introduced to a number of works by Vincent van Gogh and learn about how they were made.
- They will learn to use Van Gogh's ideas and chosen subjects in their own paintings.
Introduction/explanation: c. 15 minutes
Painting: c. 45 minutes
Final discussion and clean-up: c. 15 minutes
Decide in advance what the class will paint:
- the view from a window of the classroom
- something brought indoors from outdoors
(see 'Optional variations (2)' and 'Materials required' below)
- something they saw and drew outdoors in an earlier lesson
(see 'Optional variations (3)' and 'Materials required' below)
- or something they drew earlier at home
(see 'Optional variations (4)' and 'Materials required' below).
Before the lesson, make sure all the materials are present and ready for use.
1. The introductory explanation can be shortened by going directly from slide 10 to slide 21. Slide 4 can also be left out.
2. If the chosen subject is 'something brought indoors from outdoors', then the class can start painting after slide 11 (Sprig of Flowering Almond in a Glass).
3. Divide the material over two lessons. After the introductory explanation, have the class go outside to sketch the area and take notes on the colours. In the second lesson, they can used their sketches as the basis for their paintings.
4. Divide the material over two lessons. After the explanatory section, give the class a homework assignment: drawing the view from their own home and taking notes on the colours. In the second lesson, each student can use this homework as the basis for a painting.
- Art paper
- Various colours of paint
- Mixing boards or empty egg cartons
- Rags or towels for drying brushes
- Jars of water
- For option 2, all sorts of subjects from nature can be used to make a still life: flowers or blossoming twigs in a jar of water, autumn leaves, sticks, stones, etc.
- For option 3 or 4, use the drawings made in advance.
Vincent van Gogh loved the outdoors and painted many subjects from nature right where he found them. But sometimes, he went indoors to paint what he had seen outdoors. For instance, he sometimes used drawings he had made outside as a starting point for paintings that he made inside. And sometimes, he simply painted the view from his window. Now and then, he found things outdoors but brought them indoors, where he could paint them more easily.
Unfortunately, his painting The Painter on the Road to Tarascon no longer exists. It was once in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin, but it was lost in the Second World War. Fortunately, a colour photo was taken of the painting. That was very unusual in those days.