Flower Study

One of the last big projects I did with the children this year was a flower study.  We looked at the work of Georgia O’Keefe and how she painted her flowers to fill the entire canvas.  We noted three things that Georgia O’Keefe did:

She painted the flowers to the edges of the canvas.
She used just 3 to 4 main colors on the flower paintings.
She painted a simple background.

The main objective was to get the children to draw huge flowers.  I stressed that their flowers needed to touch each side of the paper.

 Drew the flower with pencil and traced it in a sharpie pen.  (Watercolor paper)
 I gave the children three colors – either a cool palette (blue, green and purple) or a warm palette (red, orange and yellow).  I simply cut the colors off the strip.

For this second study – we moved from watercolor to tempera paints.  The drawing was the same – but no sharpie!  I used a heavy cardstock paper and cheap foam brushes from Michaels.  Again – I put out a cool and warm palette.

I used a foam plate for the paint – perfect with three sections.


We finished with painting flowers on canvases using acrylics.  Unfortunately, I failed to take photos!!  But the end results were beautiful.  You can buy panel canvases from Dick Blick very reasonably and I used the dollar acrylic paint from Michaels.  Here is a peek at a photo a parent took:

Did you enjoy this post?
Then stick around!

Join the Fairy Dust community and get email updates, tips, tutorials, and instant access to the Fairy Dust Teaching Library - FREE!


  1. Erin says:

    Those look like Monet lilies; did you do another artist-study for the canvas paintings? They are so beautiful. We are doing mixed-media plant art today (an “anything goes” prompt!) as a reward for some very strenuous work and fairly nice output on a writing assignment after all of our spring growing activities. I’m going to put your flowers on our SMART Board when the children return from lunch to show them that they aren’t the only ones in flowery frame of mind today!

    • The O’Keefe flowers were our canvas paintings. The Monet Lilies were a watercolor background with cut painted paper leaves and acrylic flowers.

  2. I love this idea! I am doing an art unit and this is going to be great for my children. My students just did a one line design inspired by Paul Klee and the results are beautiful I might post it tomorrow. Thanks for this idea!

    • Post! Post! I want to see them! 🙂

    • I did the O’Keefe’s flowers with my students and posted about it today!
      And I put the link to your post. Thanks Sally for the inspiration!

  3. Lacey says:

    these are beautiful! I think we might incorporate this somehow into next week…

  4. Mrs. Cupcake says:

    The flowers look great!
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  5. Lohren Nolan says:

    So pretty! I left my plant unit until the end, so I am definitely stealing this idea and doing it next week! I’ll let you know how it goes. You have such a cute blog and just became a follower.

    Come visit me at

    Totally Terrific Teaching Tools

    Lohren Nolan

  6. Lauren says:

    I love this! I was thinking about ways I might explore O’Keefe with my 4 year old kinder class and this would be perfect! Can’t wait to see how they go.

  7. Sandy Boyd says:

    I love that you guided the children and they did some very beautiful art all of there very own.
    They listened and were able to produce some amazing paintings dveloping artistic appreciation and interpretation of still life while learning about an artist.

Please Leave a Comment