Sunflower Study

(Inspired by the chapter “Representational Drawing and Painting” in Ann Pelo’s The Language of Art: Inquiry-Based Studio Practices in Early Childhood Settings.)

Yesterday morning, at the farmers’ market, I couldn’t resist the sunflowers, so I brought some home with me.

This morning, they served as the focus of our studio time.

Materials: Extra-fine permanent markers; drawing paper; magnifying loupes; a choice of color media (we used colored pencils, chalk pastels, and oil pastels).

Before drawing, take some time to really look at the sunflowers. I placed individual flowers in jars in front of each child, so they had their own flower to study. The loupes are optional, but help you to really see the details. The seeds in the center spiral down until the brown seeds form a black middle. “It looks like a honeycomb!” my older son exclaimed. We looked at the shape of the petals and the leaves. When the boys felt ready, we drew.

The permanent marker can be both freeing and a little scary. If you make a mistake, there’s no going back. But if you make a mistake–it’s not a mistake! There’s no going back. So you may as well just get going. I also let the boys know that they could make as many drawings as they wanted. We’re not going for perfection here. We’re approaching the sunflower from as many angles as we want.

Above, the series of drawings done by V, age (almost) 9.

Above, the series done by N, age 6.

Below, my three drawings.

When we felt ready, we picked some of our drawings and added color. Were the petals really just yellow? How could we show the different colors in the flower? We spent a contented bit of time coloring. I couldn’t resist pinning them all onto our orange studio wall when we were done.

We haven’t seen the sun in a couple of days, but our studio is bright and cheery.

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2 Responses to Sunflower Study

  1. donna lee says:

    I love them. I can’t draw well but I enjoy it. I also use coloring as a way to help adults with serious mental illness learn to focus their attention for more than a few seconds. It’s helpful for quiet meditation, too. I always find that the adults love to color. I wonder why we stop when we get grown up?

  2. Pingback: Summer Sunflowers | kids in the studio

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