I don’t like asking my students to recreate a famous work of art. When I was younger, my art teachers used that technique all of the time. While there is merit to it, it’s not a method that I find effective in teaching students to be creative thinkers and artistic risk takers. So when we study artists, like Kandinsky, Picasso or in this case, O’Keeffe, we look at the original artist’s work and then create our own “in the style of” version.
One thing that I do like about “copying” is that it leads students to look very carefully at the artwork in front of them; study the lines, shapes, colors closely. Another is that there is a very specific kind of gratification felt when you were able to recreate something very special.
Since there are benefits in trying to recreate something exactly, I do offer a small scale exercise to my 4th grade students as part of our Georgia O’Keeffe study. This gives students the opportunity to study an O’Keeffe and work with one of her pieces in their own personal journal. Each student received 1/2 of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting in their journal and they were challenged to recreate the symmetrical other half using colored pencils.
Here are some of the highlights:
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