Van Gogh Sunflower Art Critique

How can an art critique activity help students add more detail in their drawings?  I'll show you how I use the work of Vincent van Gogh in an art critique and also show you some fabulous sunflower drawings by kids.
How can an art critique activity help students add more detail in their drawings? I'll show you how I use the work of Vincent van Gogh in an art critique and also show you some fabulous sunflower drawings by kids.


An art critique is much more than just saying whether or not you like a piece of art.  Art teachers teach students to describe a work of art first before judging the merits of the art. Describing the work of art can not only help students' language skills, but it also helps students to understand the work a little better.  It's hard to appreciate a work of art that you don't understand.  When describing a work of art, sometimes the meaning becomes clearer.  For example, was the artist trying to tell a story or convey a feeling?  Students can then not only give their opinion of the visual aesthetics of the work of art but also whether they appreciate the meaning.  Students also learn to back up their statements with evidence. This teaches students to use good descriptive words so that their audience understands what they are trying to say.  

This little exercise below is an excerpt from the presentation that goes along with Expressive Monkey's Van Goch's Sunflower lesson.  First, the students are asked to use some descriptive words for each picture, then students are asked to compare and contrast the 2 sunflower pictures painted by Van Gogh.  




Doing this before making drawings of sunflowers will help students see that no 2 sunflowers are alike.  This will help them move past just making generic looking sunflowers.  They can also see from the 2 paintings that their color choices will have a big impact as well.  After doing this, you can ask students which sunflower painting they like best and I'm sure they will have much more evidence to back up their opinion.  

If you'd like to try a little experiment, first show students the 2 sunflower pictures side by side and ask them which one they like best, have them write down their reasons why.  Then do the art critique as a class.  Generate as many words as possible to describe the paintings and then compare and contrast the paintings.  Finally, ask them the same question about which painting they like best. Have them write down their reasons why again.  Hopefully, you'll see that their vocabulary is much better and their reasons are more thoughtful. 

The presentation also has students look at the texture of the painting then looks at photographs of sunflowers and the patterns of the seeds. 
(Along with a little background info on Vincent van Gogh.)

Included in this lesson are several other art critique games such as matching the sunflower to the written description.  Of course, you'll also get Expressive Monkey's sunflower drawing pages so that your students have lots of sunflower variations at their fingertips.

I recently came across some fantastic sunflower drawings made by the students of Mrs. Wright.  I was delighted by the amount of detail and the variety of sunflowers!  They are really fun to look at!  I'll share some pictures below.  

Have you tried this lesson?  Feel free to share some pictures and I'll add them to this post.  (Use the contact option on the right.)

I have 2 versions of the lesson: just the presentation and drawing OR with the integrated art critique activities.   You can find both versions in my TpT store or Website store.





Wait!  Don't forget to pin this post so you can easily find it again :-)

How can an art critique activity help students add more detail in their drawings?  I'll show you how I use the work of Vincent van Gogh in an art critique and also show you some fabulous sunflower drawings by kids.

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