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Weekend Fun: Mixed Media Sunflower

May be a closeup of African daisy and text

Weekend Fun: Mixed Media Sunflower
March is Youth Art Month as well as Women’s History Month, so let’s have some fun with art history! One well-known woman artist is known for her large, close-up paintings of flowers – Georgia O’Keeffe. Here is one of her paintings, Oriental Poppies, painted in 1927 on a large canvas (40 inches by 30 inches).

12 things to know about Georgia O'Keeffe - Art Shortlist
Oriental Poppies by Georgia O’Keeffe is part of the collection at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.

To get an idea of how a flower looks close up, try zooming in with a camera. Many spring flowers, like crocuses and daffodils, are about to bloom – or do a search on the internet for close-up flower views. Then picture Georgia O’Keefe painting that close-up on a huge canvas!

The project for this weekend takes a closer look at flowers but, just the opposite of Georgia O’Keeffe’s large paintings, we will use a small canvas – a four-inch square – and use all kinds of art supplies, not just paint.

Using more than one type of art supply to create a work of art is called “mixed media.” There is a list of supplies for this project, but you can really use anything you have on hand. This mixed media project is a sunflower, but you can do a different flower if you wish. We’ve seen lots of sunflowers recently because it is the national flower of Ukraine.

Make a Mixed Media Sunflower

What you need:

  • Sturdy paper, like watercolor paper
  • Acrylic paint, watercolor paint, gel crayons, colored pencils, crayons, markers
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

What you do:

  1. Use the ruler to measure a 4-inch square on the watercolor paper and cut it out.
  2. Paint the background yellow with acrylic paint or watercolor paint or a gel crayon. TIP: When you color with a gel crayon, use a damp paper towel or a baby wipe to spread the color over the entire surface. See the examples below for how each type of color looks on the watercolor square.
  3. When the paint is completely dry, draw a large circle in pencil at the center.
  4. Use markers, crayons, and/or colored pencils to make lots and lots of dots in the circle. Use any combination of dark greens, different shades of brown, black, and gray (see photo below).
  5. Repeat step 4 with acrylic paint and a stiff paintbrush (the best kind is one that you forgot to clean after using it) until the circle is filled in and thick with texture.
  6. When the circle is dry, use lighter brown and reddish colors to shade around the circle, forming the petals of the sunflower. Keep some color close to the circle, but draw it out to the end to help shape the petals (see sunflower photo below for an example).
  7. When the sunflower is completely dry, use blue (crayon, paint, marker, or gel crayon) to frame the edges by making small marks – think of seeing the sky behind the sunflower.
Sunflower without the frame
watercolor paint
gel crayon
acrylic paint
Filling in the circle with lots and lots of dots

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