“I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say ‘he feels deeply, he feels tenderly’.” Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, February 1890 oil on canvas, 73.3 cm x 92.4 cm
It was years ago, at the Van Gogh Up Close exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that I first came in contact with Vincent’s beautiful, “Almond Blossom” painting. The final painting before exiting the show, they truly saved the best for last. The story behind this painting makes it all the more special. Van Gogh created the painting for his newborn nephew Vincent Willem. His brother Theo wrote, in a letter announcing the arrival “As we told you, we’ll name him after you, and I’m making the wish that he may be as determined and as courageous as you.” Vincent Willem would later go on to found the Van Gogh Museum. The meaning behind this painting is one of hope, love, and happiness.
After viewing and discussing the painting, each student created their interpretations of it. They mixed paint to create value in their color and used Van Gogh’s signature style to outline their trees shape and create visual texture in their brush strokes. We collaged on pink flowers after we learned that the ones in Van Gogh’s painting originally were pinker but have faded due to exposer to light. The almond tree, a symbol of new life and springtime, made the perfect subject matter for our artwork. I’ve loved watching these creations blossom and take form.
Students filled in their picture plane with blossoming branches that seem to float against the blue sky. Students created their blossoms in many stages, from bud, to peak blossom to falling pedals. They did so splendidly. So proud of our blossoming third grade artists!