Elementary Van Gogh Paintings

Elementary Art Classes Van Gogh Paintings

We pulled out our easels and brightened up The Studio this week with our Van Gogh style sunflower acrylic paintings.


Art Studio

Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh was born in Holland in 1853. He had two bothers and three sisters.  He was closest to his younger brother, Theo. Vincent loved to draw as a child and by the time he was 27 years old, he devoted his whole life to painting.

When Vincent first began painting, he painted images from his surroundings, which were a bit gloomy. He used dark, sad colors.

When he moved to Paris he noticed the work of the famous Impressionist painters like Renoir and their use of bright, unmixed colors.  Artists were placing opposing colors next to each other to bring out their intensity. Yellow would be painted next to purple, reds next to greens, etc.

Van Gogh started using brighter colors and painting with short brushstrokes.   He was part of a group of painters called Post-Impressionists.

He painted hundreds of pictures, sometimes finishing a single painting in a day. But then he became unwell and he moved into a hospital so others could take care of him.   Van Gogh painted seriously for about 9 years and painted almost 900 paintings. Sadly he only sold one painting before he died at age 37.  He died in 1890.

We looked at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

Yellow was the color of happiness for Van Gogh.  Sunflowers was painted during a rare period of excited optimism, while Van Gogh awaited the arrival of his hero, the avant-garde painter Paul Gauguin.  The painting was intended to impress Gauguin and was a gesture of friendship.

Sunflowers, 1888, Oil on Canvas, Post-
Impressionism, National Gallery of London

Our Sunflower Paintings in a Van Gogh Style

We started our project last week by drawing our own versions of this famous painting by Van Gogh.  We looked at the painting and at details in some silk sunflowers that decorated our easels. We then transferred our drawings to a stretch canvas and painted our Sunflowers in a Van Gogh style.

Painting Like Van Gogh

Van Gogh used short, choppy brush strokes to apply colors to his canvas. His idea was to place his colors on the canvas and allow the eye to blend the colors.  To do this, scoop up a color you like and paint a few horizontal strokes on the paper. Then, pick a color that closely matches the first color and paint in the same way.  Repeat

By Katie, Age 9
The Gritty Details of our Painting Steps

This was a big project for the kids and pushed most of them out of their comfort zones as we were standing at easels to paint for the first time and this was a very involved painting.   They did great and were very impressed with their accomplishments.  I can’t share all of the images as some were sent home wrapped in paper as Christmas Presents but here is a peak at a few that the kids were happy to share!







More Gritty Details of our Painting Steps:  If you really want to know what was involved read the following!

1.    Paint the background – Dab paintbrushes in white and lemon yellow.  We talked out not mixing the two pigments together and leaving traces of pure pigment in the mixture.  We did this by loading paint onto the brush and painting two horizontal lines and two vertical lines.  Flip and do the same with paint on back of brush.  Fill in the background.
2.    Paint the table – We added burnt sienna to our palette and warm yellow to paint the table.   We painted the table in the same manner adding longer strokes to make it look like wood.
3.    Paint the vase – We added orange to our palette and painted the upper part of the vase using medium yellow and orange, mixing in some burnt sienna toward the edges to make the vase look curved.  We painted the lower part of the vase with lemon yellow, medium yellow, and white again mixing in some burnt sienna toward the edges to make the vase look curved.  We dabbed white highlights on the vase.
4.    Paint large flower-  We added red and burnt umber and painted the petals by dipping paint brush in one color and then into another color.   We painted inside of the petals with medium yellow and lemon yellow, the edges with a dab of red.  We added some burnt sienna to the petal that was closest to the center.  Add a mixture of white and medium yellow highlights with a palette knife.  Center of flowers were painted with burnt umber and medium yellow.  Highlight with white and medium yellow.  Optional to add a dab of cerulean blue.
5.    Paint round flowers:  Using the palette knife we picked up medium yellow and a dab of red and painted in a circular pattern with light strokes pulling outward from the center of each blossom.
6.    Paint the leaves:  We add green and painted the leaves by starting with the outside of the leaves and a dab of burnt umber and green on the brush.  Paint the outside of the leaves then using the same dirty brush, dip into yellow and paint inside of the leaves.  We painted the stems in the same manner.
7.    Optional – we traced over the flower petals of the big flower with burnt sienna.
8.    Lastly we signed our paintings.


Thank you for sharing your student with me and have a very Merry Christmas,




Torn Paper Portraits – Teens Class

In our teen class this week, we assembled our ceramics projects. Sorry images of these are under wraps until after Christmas.

Now that the big ceramic project is done, we returned to our Torn Paper Portraits.  This project is an exercise to learn value. Value is the amount of light reflected from the surface. Value creates depth in a picture making the object look 3 D.


A picture was taken of each student and it was abstracted in Photoshop using the cutout filter. This filter breaks the image down into specific values. The student mixed black and white acrylic paint to create similar values on pieces of paper.

The photo was attached to foam board. The students are in the process of tearing value-toned paper into small pieces and gluing the pieces directly onto the photo.

Here are two of the finished pieces:

The students will be bringing these home as they finish them.

Adult Ceramics – Final Touch on the Clocks

It was another very creative week at Picket Fence Art.  In the adult class we added the final touches to the Ceramic Clocks.

We have had so much fun with ceramics the past few weeks that we decided to upgrade the kiln.  An early Christmas present arrived for me on Friday!

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We love working with ceramics so much that we are thinking of adding a Saturday ceramics workshop in the new year.  Email me if this is something that may interest you!

Contact Us:

Fine Art Painting Workshop with Henry Stinson

Come join us at our beautiful Studio for a three-day painting workshop with renowned artist Henry Stinson.

Painting Workshop with Henry Stinson

  • When: March 4 – 6th, 2016 9:00AM – 5:00PM
  • Where: Picket Fence Art Studio
  • Price: $325 + model fee to be determined but no more than $50.  $100 Registration due at time of enrollment.  Balance due 60 days before workshop.  See below for more information.

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Take your painting to a new level in this three-day workshop with artist Henry Stinson where you will learn the fundamentals of Russian Impressionistic Painting for today’s modern artist.

Painting by Henry Stinson

Through demonstrations, lectures and working directly from life you will gain a deep understanding of color, color relationships, value and temperature.  Henry is a master at color and I still remember my first workshop and how I literally started seeing color differently as a result of it.

Painting by Henry Stinson

Every student will receive individual instruction and will work directly from life.

Both still life setups and live models will be available.

Painting by Henry Stinson

All levels and mediums are welcome.

About the Artist:

Henry Stinson was born in Anchorage, Alaska but spent much of his childhood in the Pacific Northwest. A serious artist for the past 30 years, his university training began with Washington State University. It was continued at the Art Institute of Seattle and ended with 4 years of intensive study—painting with master impressionist teacher Ron Lukas in his Seattle Studio.

Stinson has taught drawing and painting for the past 22 years in numerous colleges and privately owned schools, and is currently teaching national workshops as well. He is a gifted instructor, noted most for his unique ability to create vivid color on canvas in a manner which inspires and supports the ideal learning situation for painting students.

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He maintains an active painting studio in Pullman, Washington. His paintings have been in several museum group shows and exhibited in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Washington, and Oregon as well as the United States Embassy in Geneva Switzerland. Henry’s love of painting the unique stems for his inability to resist capturing those unusual moments in life that make each of us step back and think. It may be a humorous thought or a moment of beauty, or simply something that catches the eye and sits on the edge of the memory. Whatever the origin, Henry has the singular ability to translate moments into paintings, making his work popular with private collectors both in the US and abroad.


Registration is $100. Registration fees are non-refundable. Balance due 60 days prior to workshop.

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Supply List for Henry Stinson Workshop

About Picket Fence Art Studio

Come and join us for this workshop at the Picket Fence Art Studio located in the heart of Washington Wine Country.

Sitting at the top of Hollywood Hill in Woodinville, in the idyllic setting that combines country scenes with nearby modern conveniences including over 170 wine tasting rooms where you are likely to have the winemaker themselves pour you a glass of his or her finest blend. Within a 30-minute drive of Seattle. Complimentary wine tasting on last night of workshop with the artist included.

More about Woodinville Wine Country

Gritty Details

Registration is $100. Registration fees are non-refundable. Balance due 60 days prior to workshop.

Please note there will be an additional model fee, payable on the first day of the class. Fees vary by model.

Workshop Cancellation Policy

PFA cancels Workshop:

  1. Option of refund or credit for both the workshop and registration fee.
  2. No Cancellation Fee is assessed.
  3. No refunds are given for student travel expenses due to cancellations or schedule changes.

Student Cancels Workshop:

  1. 60 days before workshop: forfeit Registration Fee.
  2. Cancels 30 days before workshop: 75% refund or credit, does NOT include Registration Fee, plus $75 cancellation fee
  3. Cancels 21 days before workshop: 50% credit only, does NOT include Registration Fee, plus $75 cancellation fee
  4. Cancels 14 days before workshop: 0% refund or credit, cannot transfer.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are made in the same manner that payments were made, so if you paid with a check, you will receive a refund by check. If you paid using PayPal, your refund will also be processed using PayPal and incur any applicable PayPal fees and/or charges.

We strongly urge all students to consider the cancellation policy when making travel arrangements.

Publicity Waiver

All photographs and video taken of students in school and of their artwork can be published in PFA informational or promotional publications (including the web) and across social media networks.

PTA Reflections

Students have been busy outside the Studio as well. Several students have entered their local PTA Reflections contest.

The Reflections Program is a National PTA and Washington State PTA cultural arts competition. The purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity for students to use their creative talents by expressing themselves through their own original works in 6 categories: visual arts, photography, literature, music composition, dance choreography, and film production.

 All art submitted will be judged and then some pieces will move onto Northshore or Lake Washington Council PTSA for further judging, then some may go on to State and then National competitions.

More information is available here http://www.wastatepta.org/programs/reflections/index.html

This years theme is Let your Imagination Fly.

 Here are a few samples of entries by students:


Jack is 10 years old and a student at Blackwell Elementary.  Jack was inspired by Picasso.



Lindsey is 12 years old and a 6th Grader at Sunrise Elementary. She loves to draw.

Good luck students!




Ceramic Painting

The Elves were busy this week at Picket Fence Art Studio putting the final touches on their ceramics projects! Sorry – no photos of the kids classes this week!


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We talked about Color Theory and mixing colors while we painted our projects.



We were busy painting our ceramics in the Adult Class as well:


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Have a great weekend and see you next week!