Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Oh Georgia!

Georgia O'Keeffe - American Artist.  What's not to love about her art?  I usually include a painting assignment based on her enlarged flowers in my senior art curriculum, which my students have completed with great success.  I used to show them an hour long DVD, trying to include art history into my lesson.  The information was great for me, but too long for my students.  I have since changed how I introduce Georgia to my students.  The key to art history is to keep it short, visual, and interesting.  More information is not necessarily better.

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum has a great introductory video for students, and is under fifteen minutes long.  I keep my longer DVD for students who want more, but most are satisfied with a base knowledge.

When teaching art history, I have come up with a plan that seems to work.  I create a teacher cheat sheet of twenty facts students should know about a particular artist.  I find facts that are unique to each artist and choose specific details that have a "that's interesting" factor.  I also try to include things that are not necessarily on the video.

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't like history in school, and my university art history course was no exception. There was just too much to learn and memorizing names and dates wasn't my thing.  But, give me interesting facts and tidbits of trivia, and I have a better chance to remembering something.  And so I began a very long quest on how to introduce art history to my students.  I think I got it!

Creating a word search is great for reviewing vocabulary and terminology, but if you don't know what the purpose or context of those words are, then I believe a learning opportunity has been missed.  I now pair the word search with a Q and A sheet, using the same vocabulary.  The question and answer sheet may involve either listening skills, as I may have verbally given them the details of the artist, or students may have to find the answers on-line.  This pairing of information is ideal for reinforcing what I want my students to learn.

I have created just such a pairing of a Word Search with a Q and A sheet for Georgia O'Keeffe. Let me tease you with five facts:

  1. How many paintings did Georgia do in her lifetime?
  2. How old was she when she went river rafting down the Colorado River?
  3. How much did her painting "Jimson Weed" sell at auction for in 2014?
  4. How did Georgia O'Keeffe stay cool in the hot New Mexico desert?
  5. How old was she when she knew and declared she would be an artist?    

So, do you know the answers to these?
 Georgia O'Keeffe - American Artist


  1. Georgia O'Keeffe painting over 900 paintings!
  2. She was in her seventies when she went river rafting down the Colorado River in 1961.
  3. "Jimson Weed" sold for $44,405,000 at auction in 2014.
  4. Georgia used to lie under her Model A Ford car to keep out of the hot sun.
  5. At age ten Georgia declared she would be an artist.
Georgia O'Keeffe was a true artist, dedicating her life to expressing what she loved.  She would leave her husband for months at a time so she could paint without interruption.  Her body of work is impressive and worthy of study and admiration.  Every art student should be exposed to Georgia's work.  Google search her images, put up a slide show on your smart board, teach colour blending, and let the painting begin!