Everyone knows Van Gogh. When I speak to the grade 3s, even they know of him! This artwork asked the grade 7 learners to draw and paint a still life in the style of Van Gogh. What is the style of Van Gogh? The expressive style and bright colours of his later life are most well known as being indicative of a Van Gogh painting. Van Gogh combined a drawing of real life (e.g. a bowl of sunflowers) with his internal emotional state. Thus a field of wheat becomes a tumultuous sea and a few cyprus trees become black pyre burning into the night.
The grade 7s were presented with a still life. Their immediate reaction to this was dismay. They had done a number of still life pictures in the previous year and had not enjoyed them. When taken on a basic level, a still life picture is a boring things to draw. When looked at through the lens of Van Gogh’s style of expressing emotions through art, the still life becomes a vehicle for the learners to express themselves.
The learners were given a lot of freedom in this task. They began with an elementary sketch in pencil so that they could place the objects and then filled it out with pencil. Though some of the learners found this task quite tough, many produced beautiful pieces that broke away from the simple arrangement that was placed before them.