“Blossoming Almond Tree” is one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous pieces of art. He was inspired to create it to show his love for his nephew, Vincent, who was his namesake. Van Gogh (1853-1890) is arguably one of the most influential artists of the 19th century. He was mostly self-taught and spent a good part of his life dedicated to traveling and painting. Van Gogh was largely inspired by the Impressionists. This painting now hangs in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

This project is a great way to expose your kids to his work—and learn a few things yourself. Show the kids the painting, get the discussion rolling (see our discussion starters below), and then roll up your sleeves to create some beautiful art of your own. And by the way, this is a project that can be adapted in many ways depending on the age and skill level of kids.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
What do you see?
What kinds of materials do you think the artist used to make this?
What else do you see?
What is going on in this picture?
What else do you see?
Is there any book or song that you think of when you look at this picture?
What is your favorite thing about this picture?
What else do you see?
How does this picture make you feel?
What else do you see?

MATERIALS NEEDED:
Pencil (to write your child’s name on the back of the work)

8.5x11 or 9x12 white cardstock/pre-cut poster board/140lb watercolor paper—something a bit thicker than copy paper to withstand the amount of paint and glue your kids will be using. You will need enough for each child to use as the base for his/her artwork.

For paper, choose between these two options:

Blue construction paper for younger ages OR blue crayons/blue chalk/blue watercolor/blue acrylic paint. This will turn the project into a two-day process. Note: The chalk will be the messiest option when the kids begin to create the branches over the top of the chalk, so you may want to create the branches first and then fill in the white space with chalk later

blossoms1White acrylic paintLarge paintbrushes or small, rectangle sized foam brushes and water bowls

Green acrylic paint

Black ball point pens

Red pencils

Q-tips

Baby wipes

Aprons

LENGTH OF TIME/DURATION OF PROJECT:
30 minutes
two sessions if you decide to do option 2

PREP WORK:
For younger children, on blue construction paper, you will create lines for the branches similar to what is pictured in the art piece—some thick and some thin. For older children, consider allowing them to do this step on their own. This should take no more than about 20-30 minutes.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take the piece of white paper that you are using as the base for the project and write your child’s name on the back of the paper or let them write their names on their own.
  2. (Older children) Paint the background blue with foam or paint brushes; no need to paint in a certain direction. You can decide with the chalk option if you want to have kids prep the background now or fill in the white space with blue chalk after completing the branches.
  3. Move to another location to let dry. (This would be a great time to talk about Van Gogh with your kids.)
  4. (Older children) Have kids create the lines of the branches with a pencil to give them guidelines for where they will paint.
  5. (Younger and older children) Paint the branches with green paint.
  6. Using the q-tips as paintbrushes, create blossoms on the end of each branch with a dotting motion.
  7. Let dry as needed.
  8. Outline the branches with black pen.
  9. Use red pencil to add red dot in the center of some of your white blossoms.

And you’re done! Now hang these masterpieces—inspired by Van Gogh, made by your kids—around your home and be inspired. Everyone will enjoy these artistic visions of Spring!

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