How to Paint like Georgia O'Keeffe Activity

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Updated on Jun 20, 2013

Georgia O’Keeffe is a celebrated American artist who is considered a modern-abstract painter. She would often take walks around her house in Sante Fe, New Mexico to find inspiration for her beautiful pieces of art. When O’Keeffe found an object from nature that interested her, she would capture the part she liked most by magnifying it, and then painting just that part! Create some Georgia O’Keeffe inspired nature art with your child, and give his basic math skills a boost, too.

What You Need:

  • Old magazine
  • Magnifying glass
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor paint

What You Do:

  1. Share some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, such as Blue and Green Music, with your child and discuss them together. See if he can determine the specific plant or flower that was the motivation for each of O’Keeffe’s paintings by looking at them.
  2. Next, encourage him to look through magazines or online for images of nature that he finds interesting. Give him a magnifying glass to use while looking at the picture, and encourage him to notice how it makes everything appear larger.
  3. Once he finds an area of the picture he likes, he can use a ruler to measure a 3 by 3-inch section over the spot and use tape to section it off from the rest of the picture.
  4. Now it’s time for some math! Help your child decide if he wants to make his picture 2, 3, 4 or 5 times bigger than the original image. Then, help him figure out how to determine the final size using his math skills.
  5. Once your child decides how many times he wants to magnify his 3 by 3-inch square, he can do the math to figure out how large of a paper he will need. Help him cut down a 12 by 18 or 18 by 24-inch piece of paper to use.
  6. Invite him to use a pencil to lightly sketch out the lines and shapes of the small square onto the larger sheet of paper, magnifying the small square onto the large paper.
  7. Offer him a set of watercolor paints to use for creating his Georgia O’Keeffe inspired artwork.
  8. Once the painting is finished, display it next to the original small square for others to see the cool magnifying effect he used, in true O'Keeffe style!
Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

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