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This is my second post in my three-part series on The Night Sky.  If you missed the first one, you can check it out here, and now you can also readPart 3!  This post deals with some art appreciation, and since I had a print of Van Gogh's Starlight Over Rhone, it seemed like a perfect connection to our little unit!  If you aren't quite so lucky as to own this print, you can view it online at EssentialArt.com.  After our activity, I pinned it up in our play corner so the kids could continue to look at it every now and then.
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I set out the print on the kitchen table, along with a bunch of different paintbrushes.  I asked Yummy my favourite art appreciation question, "What do you see?".  It encourages Yummy to look closely at an artwork, and doesn't involve any judgements or observations on my part.  So, what did Yummy see?

"Stars, blue, white."  

While she looked, she picked up a dry brush and started mimicking the paint strokes that she could see on the print.  Van Gogh's artwork is so lovely for exploring texture since he left visible texture marks of paint from his paintbrushes.  Yummy tried several brushes before she found one that she thought matched the size of brushstrokes on the print. 

This artmaking session happened while Dooter napped, so he wouldn't get jealous of the thick acrylic paints, and also so Yummy could concentrate and get into the painting experience without her little brother disturbing her thoughts.  I love to involve Dooter, but sometimes it's nice to be able to focus completely on Yummy.  

Yummy began by mixing blue with black and white for different shades and tones (a monochromatic colour scheme, I was sure to inform her!), then using the little brush that had mimicked Van Gogh's brushstrokes, Yummy made little marks on her large sheet of paper.  
The great expanse of paper soon beckoned Yummy to choose a bigger brush and she began to make big thick brushstrokes across the paper (I needed to loop some masking tape on the back so it didn't move around too much with her vigorous painting).  I made sure there was plenty of paint available to ensure a nice thick texture.  I was surprised by Yummy's focus on this activity -she spent probably ten minutes straight with that big brush on the paper.  Perhaps she found the painting soothing with it's simplicity.  
When the entire paper was covered in varying blues, Yummy was ready to make stars!  Since we didn't wait for it to dry, Yummy soon learned that she couldn't work too long on one star or the white/yellow paint would just mix into the blue.  

I encouraged her to look closely at the stars in Van Gogh's print to see what kind of brushstrokes he had used to create his stars, so she began painting some with little lines radiating outwards.  
Take a look at the wonderful texture of the paint!
Be sure to check back on Saturday for the third and final part of my Night Sky unit!  I will be sharing a free Counting Stars printable, exploring Galaxy Play-dough, and making some Full Moon Artwork.  Happy star-gazing!  
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This activity uses these Elements of Visual Art and Principle of Design:
  1. Colour: monochromatic colour scheme
  2. Texture: Yummy got to see the brushtrokes in Van Gogh's artwork, though since it was a print, the texture was implied rather than real.  She got to experience real texture in her own thick paint brush strokes. 
  3. Emphasis: The bright white and yellow stars against the dark blue sky create emphasis.



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