The Great Artist Vincent van Gogh…A Study in Self Portraiture

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”  ~Vincent van Gogh

Ooooooo…it’s my favourite time again!! It’s time for the Kids Get Arty Series with Red Ted Art!  Remember a couple of months ago when we studied Michelangelo and painted our own “Sistine Chapel”? You can click here if you didn’t see it, or even if you did and want to see it again! *wink

Today we studied a new artist. Vincent van Gogh…the Dutch painter famous for such rough beauty and intense, bold colours.

Now, I happened to get the inside track on this artist, as he happens to be my little nephew’s favourite. His mama sent me photos of his memorable trip to Arles, France where Van Gogh once lived…

And how cool is this?? In Van Gogh’s actual bedroom… (which has been painted to look like Van Gogh’s painting)

And here he is with Vincent, himself at the Museé d’Orsay in Paris…

Which brings us to where we picked up our study…the self portrait. Vincent van Gogh did many self portraits in his career. The smalls decided he must have liked himself a whole big bunch to have painted himself so often! Hehehehe!

We googled our great artist and we browsed through all of his beautiful paintings. The sunflowers were a favourite with the smalls, as well as all the pretty stars. They pointed out that he really liked blue and yellow! Then we turned our attention to all of his self portraits. We talked about how he might have painted himself if he couldn’t see himself!!? They were intrigued. How did he do it?

I told them I knew the answer. And then I showed them.

I set up a mirror on my patio, along with splash mats, as I figured this exercise may get a bit messy. I set them up with palettes, paints, and brushes and brought them to the mirror. The wee ones of course, didn’t understand at first…but the older one did. She was all smiles. It suddenly made sense!

And this is how the smalls painted portraits of themselves…

This activity was appreciated by all the children in my care. Even the wee babe…

Yes, he’s only a baby. But this does not mean he can’t appreciate a bit of art. Children are never to small to learn. Even though the learning may be sensory only, his little self will not forget the happy feelings he had while squishing paint between his toes and being included with the big kids. This is where the love of art starts.

And besides…he made a beautiful painting that reminded me of my favourite Vincent Van Gogh piece…

And here is the real cafe, brought home in a photo with my nephew and his mama…

I am so very grateful for this series, Red Ted Art. It really is a wonderful thing. Really.

Thanks for stopping by,

~Arlee, Small Potatoes

Red Ted Art

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15 thoughts on “The Great Artist Vincent van Gogh…A Study in Self Portraiture

  1. Wowwwwwww. That looks like SO much fun, what a really cool idea.

    You’re very lucky to have those photos too of the places that inspired him.

    Isn’t Kids Get Arty great?! x

  2. This is exactly what I’ve been craving! A child friendly art teaching hands-on lesson! I will totally use your ideas with my littles! Thanks so much! I am not very knowledgeable on the great artists but really want to teach my kids so this helps a ton!!!

  3. Hi Arlee, I cannot tell you how awesome I think your kids get arty posts are! I am doing a round-up posts of art history lessons than made me go “WOW!”, and I’d like to feature your Fauves one and this one. Would you be okay with me using one image from each post with a link back? Thanks! Cindy

  4. Pingback: 7 Exciting Art History Projects for Kids that Made Me Say "WOW!" - The Art Curator for Kids

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