Georgia O'Keeffe Seashell Art
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Keep reading for more information about Georgia O’Keeffe, resources to teach about her, and a great liquid watercolor art lesson!
Georgia O’Keeffe liked to paint things big so that others would take time to notice them and all their details. She is quoted as saying about her big flower paintings:
“I decided that if I could paint that flower on a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.”
“I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking the time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”
She carried this over to her other art as well and loved to make her images so big that sometimes parts of them were off the canvas, or they became almost abstract because of their size.
Resources for teaching about Georgia O'Keeffe
When I teach an art lesson, I like to first tell my students about the artist we are studying before we start the actual art part. I try to find great videos, images, and slideshows that have already been created and are easy to access to help educate my students. Here are a few resources for teaching your kids a little bit more about the artist we are studying in this lesson, Georgia O’Keeffe!
Who is Georgia O'Keeffe?
(November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) She was an American artist who is best known for her beautifully painted enlarged flowers. She also painted New York skyscrapers, New Mexico landscapes, and other elements from nature, like animal skulls, trees, and seashells.
By now you've probably picked up that I love this series and this book on Georgia O'Keeffe is no exception! These have great visuals and illustrations and do a superb job teaching about an artist!
Photos of her Artwork
Georgia O'Keeffe Seashell Art
In this lesson we are going to focus on painting a BIG seashell using bright and beautiful liquid watercolors and black glue for a dynamic painting. This lesson is a two part lesson as the black glue outline will need to dry for several hours or overnight before you can paint.
These are the supplies I used (but other products could be substituted):
- Glue All
- Black Acrylic paint
- Watercolor brush
- Crayola blue fine line marker
- Canning or Pickling Salt or Sea Salt
- Orange, Red, violet, green, turquoise, blue liquid watercolor
- 11×11 watercolor paper (I cut mine from a 11x 15 sheet of Canson Montval watercolor paper)
- Mix black acrylic paint into a ½ full Elmer’s Glue All bottle. Stir with the handle of a paintbrush. Add enough paint to get a dark black. I sometimes add some India Ink as well to get the true black color. (just make sure not to add too much of the ink as it will make the glue runny)
- Draw a large spiral shaped seashell filling up the whole paper. (Like Georgia did!)
- With steady pressure go over the pencil line with a stream of black glue. (practice this on a scrap paper to test the flow)This takes a bit of practice but once kids get the hang of it it goes smoothly.
- Lay the paper somewhere out of the way where it can stay flat and allow it to dry for several hours or overnight until the glue is completely dry.
- When it is ready to paint begin with painting the center part orange adding a lot of paint to keep it wet. Quickly add violet to the outside edge and red to the other edge to finish off the center section. (see sample) If the paints are wet they will gently float into one another. Allow this to dry.
- Next add blue to the edge of the top part of the seashell and with a clean wet brush pull out the color to the rest of the top part of the shell.
- Add purple to the other edge. Allow the shell to dry.
- For the background work quickly so the colors stay wet and blend into one another. First add some purple around the shell then some turquoise and some watered down green (just mix the green in a little cup with water).
- While it is still wet sprinkle the salt over some of the background. The salt will absorb the water and leave a textured water like background. (kids love this part!)
- Allow the paint to dry completely then shake the salt off into the garbage.
- Using the blue fine line marker make curved lines half way across the top part of the shell from each side. Go over each line with a clean wet brush to blur the lines a bit.
Don’t worry if this turns out looking more like an abstract painting than a seashell! It will be equally as beautiful and was often the way Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings looked
I'm writing a book!
I am excited to announce my latest project! My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.Book Info
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