I’ve always felt bad for Vincent Van Gogh. He suffered from mental illness and struggled with poverty all his life. During his lifetime, his work was unknown and the feedback he got was negative. He would never know that his work would be setting records for highest painting ever sold, or that millions up millions — myself included — would admire his work.
So, when the TV show Dr. Who takes Vincent Van Gogh into a time machine and brings him to the Musee D’orsay in Paris in the 2010 AD, it was a moment of sweet justice. Dr. Who asks an art expert in 100 words where he things Van Gogh rates in the history of art:
Here’s my visit to the Musee D’Orsay which includes some work by Vincent Van Gogh starting at 3:55.
I’ve created an art project for kids featuring Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. I actually saw this painting (:47) at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC:
Van Gogh’s The Starry Night Art Project for Kids
The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh at The Museum of Modern Art (MOCA) in NYC.
I’m using watercolor and oil pastel to create The Starry Night. You can use any Van Gogh painting to try this. You don’t need watercolor but I found it helped me to block in the shapes with colors before using the oil pastels. I used a piece of cardboard that came (free) from sheets. The cardboard was thick with some texture. It was nice and sturdy for oil pastel and the rough texture make it easy to slide the colors around. It did take a few layers of oil pastel, though, to cover the surface to get it to mimic Van Gogh’s oil paint.
This is my finished art project:
Here’s the art project from start to finish:
Starry Night Created with Household Objects from the Pantry!
Chalkbeat has this great article on an art teacher who re-created Starry Night using items from his pantry and closet!
Working from home, this NYC art teacher has students rethinking what they need to create a masterpiece
Children’s Book List to Learn About Van Gogh
My public library is closed right now due to Covid-19 so I wasn’t able to read all the books as I usually do. I’m including publisher descriptions for now, but I will update with my reviews later.
Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPre
Vincent can’t sleep . . .
out, out, out he runs!
flying through the garden—marigold, geranium, blackberry, raspberry—
past the church with its tall steeple, down rolling hills and sandy paths meant for sheep,
He dives at last into the velvety, violet heath, snuggles under a blanket of sapphire sky,
and looks up, up, up . . . to visit with the stars.
Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those nighttime experiences provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime—but he continued to pursue his unique vision, and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Vincent’s Colors by Vincent van Gogh and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Vincent van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists. Throughout his life, he wrote to his younger brother, Theo, about his colorful, dynamic paintings. This book pairs the artist’s paintings with his own words.
Van Gogh’s descriptions, arranged as a simple rhyme, introduce young readers to all the colors of the rainbowand beyond. The descriptive words combine with spectacular reproductions of many of the artist’s most beloved and important works to create a perfect art book for young and old alike. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt
“Where Camille lived, the sunflowers grew so high they looked like real suns . . . One day a strange man arrived in Camille’s town. He had a straw hat and a yellow beard.” So begins this fascinating tale of Camille, a little boy who is the son of a small-town postman. Camille meets the man with the yellow beard, and they become friends. This bearded man is a painter named Vincent van Gogh. The story, based on a true-life incident, is beautifully illustrated in full color by the author. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew, illustrated by Lee Wildish
Join Katie as she steps into some of the most famous paintings in the world for an exciting art adventure!
The stars in Vincent van Gogh’s painting are so beautiful that Katie can’t resist reaching in and taking one. But what will she do when all the other stars come tumbling out of the painting, too? Will Katie be able to catch the stars before the gallery guard notices they’ve floated away? [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend―Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the extraordinary love of the Van Gogh brothers. [young adult, for ages 12 and up]
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p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.