Art Appreciation, homeschool

Georgia O’Keeffe Activities For Kids

Georgia O'Keeffe Art Activities for Kids.png

I planned Georgia O’Keeffe activities this week solely due to our mornings being filled with activities revolving around mummies, pyramids, and dances along the Nile.  I wanted to stick to the idea of deserts, and it also allowed for a bonus opportunity to discuss the differences in varying deserts from the soft sands of the Sahara to the hardened stone grounds of Arizona.

With O’Keeffe the primary objectives I wanted the kids to walk away with were:

  • Properly using Warm, Cool, and Neutral colors to make a bold statement.
  • Filling the canvas with a picture.

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Day One- Fire and Ice


20190222_120428-1.jpgAt the very beginning, I placed a strip of watercolor paper and simple watercolor set up on their desks.

“Some colors are considered ‘warm’, and others are ‘cool’.  Which colors on your watercolor palette do you think are “cool” and which are “warm”?

To continue the discussion we started this slideshow.

On slide #5 I demonstrated how I could control the shade of the color by paying attention to the amount of color, water, and pressure I used with each stroke.  Once they watched me it was their turn to take red and experiment with how to make it lighter and darker in single lines up and down the slip of paper at their workstations.

As we practiced we discussed the shading details on the picture of slide #5.  Then while our hue samples dried we completed the rest of the slide show.


Next, we painted a dune of the Sahara, looking at the shading and warmth of the photo.  Together we drew the horizon, and the lines of the cooler and the warm.  With watercolors, the kids practiced working with warmer and cooler colors to develop a textured and shaded landscape.

It was so inspiring seeing the progress each of them has made over the past few weeks this summer practicing various art techniques.  And their continued progress throughout this week was absolutely no exception!

Day 2: Oil Pastels

There are multiple great children’s books out there on the life of Georgia O’Keeffe.  Considering this was moving week for us we used this ‘eh okay’ recording of the book My Name Is Georgia. But if you want the book for yourself so that your tots can explore the pages and paintings on their own it’s one of the most affordable of this summer’s art series here through Amazon.


At first, we tried freehanding the scene found at Happy Family Art, but after a bit of frustration, I felt the drawing was taking away from the actual skill we were trying to practice with this activity.

We looked at the sample on the blog and discussed again how the colors were broken up.  Where were cool colors used, where were warm colors used?  How did they add realism to the water?  To the rocks?

After filling in the printouts we went back to trace the hard lines by pressing firmly with our oil pastels.  The effects were really entrancing, and the kids were super proud of their work in the end.

Day 3: Draw and Paint Lotus

We spent the morning studying the botanical science as well as the symbolism of the Lotus flower in Egypt, followed of course with a super complicated and difficult origami Lotus flower.  For the afternoon we looked at some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers.


What do you notice about the flowers?

  • They are HUGE
  • They take up the canvas
  • You see bold colors
  • The flowers and their background are commonly contrasting cool and warm colors
  • Shading is done with darker color colder towards the center.


  1. Draw a grid on paper, like we did with last week’s Kandinsky circle blending project, of 12 proportionate squares.
  2. Crop your photo so that it is proportionate to the watercolor paper, but so that the petals touch the edges of the picture, at least on one of the sides.
  3. Fold the picture in 12 squares
  4. Now, unfold and refold the picture so that you are looking at only the top left corner of the picture.   With your pencil, draw what you see in proportion to the square on the top left corner of the grid you drew.
  5. Refold the picture so that you are looking at the second to left top fold, and then so on until you have drawn the entire picture.  This will give you that larger than life feel of Georgia O’Keefe.
  6. Once your flower is all drawn make any tweaks like misconnecting lines until you are happy with it.
  7. Like with the landscaping, mark where the shadings will be.
  8. Now Paint with your watercolor whatever color you choose. Keeping the flower warm and the background cool or vis-versa.  I reminded the kids how we had made the colors darker and lighter by combining the right amount of paint, water, and pressure.

Day 4:  Tertiary Colors


To explore further into the life and work of O’Keeffe we read through the book, Through Georgia’s Eyes.

Then we discussed once more colors and their effects.  This time we talked about what would happen if we mixed complementary colors, meaning colors beside one another on the color wheel.

We practiced different combinations with little bits of Crayola washable paint on their pallets.



The day before I asked the kids what their favorite flowers were.  I printed out one daisy and one rose close up photo, both in black and white.

Just like yesterday, we started out drawing a grid of 12 squares on our paper, and then trimming and folding our photo so to once more draw our photos larger than life.

One square at a time they drew their flowers, and then when all squares were filled they made their final adjustments and added light pencil to the shading.

The catch with today’s flower was that they could only use three colors, two complementary colors, and then the color that was the product of mixing those same two colors.

The pictures came out gorgeous while wet, but as they dried the third tertiary color seemed to fade with the Crayola washable paints, which greatly saddened me, because they were perhaps the most beautiful works we created all summer, while wet.  I suppose we must choose great works of art or non-stained floors.

Day 5: Skulls Oil Pastels


What an amazing time we live in that we have so many resources for education.  From books to videos, to Google, if you are curious about it, it’s at your fingertips.  Today we watched this short video that briefly reviews once more Georgia’s life and gave the kids an opportunity to see her as a person:  living, breathing, talking, and exploring her desert.


My 8-year-old son’s of course top interest was the skulls, and so he was ecstatic when I announced that that was exactly what we would be doing today.  With the confidence they have gained I allowed them to choose where to place their warm or cool tones independently with very little instruction.

  1. First with a white/gray oil pastel lightly draw the outline of your skull.
  2. Now fill in with the oil pastels.  For more information on filling in with oil pastels correctly please feel free to visit the Kandinsky blog post from last week.
  3. Color the background. Be sure to apply pressure to the pastels to really make your color stand out.

Planning to try these great works?!  I want to see!!  Feel free to post all masterpieces to Instagram tag it #H2UArtRoom

Further Inspirations and Ideas



0 thoughts on “Georgia O’Keeffe Activities For Kids”

    1. yes, in my introduction to the unit I write about how I despised art growing up, being drug to art museum after art museum and never understanding the point. But exploring it with my kids who are gifted with the creative bug has really shown me much of the fun that is found in it. <3

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