Famous Artist III: O’Keeffe

This session exploring different artists. To explore an artist means we examine the work as a class, draw inspiration from the colors, content and techniques and then turn it into something of our own. For O’Keeffe we discussed the color palette she used in Oriental Poppies (1928), brush stroke size, and how big she painted the poppies.

  • Large White Construction Paper
  • Warm Color Construction Paper (pink, yellow, orange, red, etc)
  • Large Black Construction Paper (cut into strips betwen 1/2 – 1 in. wide)
  • Brown Construction Paper (cut into small circles for younger children)
  • Black Tissue Paper
  • Warm Color Paint (we used permanent tempera)
  • Paint Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks


We started by adding a border on our white construction page; this is where you will be mounting the flowers later. We did this step first before the table was covered with paint. We made each child had his/her name on the back of the paper to match it with flowers later.
Originally, we had cut the black paper two lengths: one for the long and short sides, but we found that inevitably, someone would glue the short construction paper on the long side. So we left all the black paper the same long length and had the children trim the excess.
Then we moved on to shaping the large flower. We wanted circular shapes, not perfect circles. We also wanted to keep the flowers large so instead of cutting a circle we rounded off the corners of a square paper.
Helpful hints:
1) draw guide lines for the student to follow with their scissor
2) rotate the paper as you cut not your hand/arm.
3) trim a little at a time, cutting off chunks as needed.
This project has A LOT of cutting, and new cutting techniques such as shaping circles.
Next, we used the brown construction to make the center of our flowers. Our masters students (5Y+) drew circles and cut them out themselves. Our younger students used precut circles.
Then we feathered the flower centers by making half to full inch cuts towards the center of circle, all the way around.
I explained a rhythm of cutting and rotating demoing it as I sang ” chop, chop, chop, turn, chop, chop, chop turn” . Kids love the idea of chopping up a piece of paper. The younger versions were very rough but full of personality!
When they finished this, they crinkled the centers so that the cuts didn’t lay flat and added 3-D texture.
After making sure all the white sheets were cleared, we got started painting. In the Master’s class, some stuck with wide brush strokes and worked from the center out.

All students were expected to paint to their ability.

While the paint was wet we added our feathered centers.
We used black paint as glue to adhere small pieces of tissue paper that we had crumpled.

In the Master’s classes, they also added black detail on the flowers.


As soon as each child finished their flowers we mounted them onto their background.


We couldn’t get enough of this project!


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