Recreate Five Masterpiece Paintings

Inspire your child's creativity and imagination by introducing famous painters and their most popular paintings.

01 of 06
child painting
Lucy Schaeffer

Your little painter can explore the wonders of fine art while using a few famous paintings as creative influences. Only basic materials are needed to make these colorful masterpieces! These five artworks are filled with bold colors and simple shapes, making them perfect for kids to recreate in their own styles. Having photos or posters of the actual artworks on hand for reference and inspiration is helpful, and all can easily be found online. But don't get caught up in replicating every detail of these paintings -- remember, the main goal is to encourage your kids to have fun!

02 of 06

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
Sarah Lipoff

Let imagination shine through this star-filled sky.

What You'll Need: White paper; crayons (white, gray, black, and yellow); gold star stickers; watercolor paints; paintbrush

Make It: Van Gogh repeated strong, swirling lines to convey movement and emotion in this famous painting. Although van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime, Starry Night is one of the world's most well-known images because of its vibrant colors, bright stars, and fearless style. To start, turn your paper horizontal. Use the yellow crayon to draw and color in a crescent moon on the paper.

Then add several curling and swirling yellow lines and use the gray, white, and black crayons to do the same so they outline each other. Place star stickers on the paper. Dip a paintbrush into diluted blue watercolor paint and then cover the moon, swirling crayon lines, and star stickers with the paint. Watch as the paper is transformed into a vibrant night sky.

03 of 06

Red Poppy by Georgia O'Keeffe

Red Poppy by Georgia O'Keeffe
Sarah Lipoff

Explore lively colors through vibrant flowers.

What You'll Need: White paper; oil pastels (red, orange, yellow, green, black)

Make It: O'Keeffe maximized colors to make her painting of a single flower stand out. She focused on close views of flowers, turning them into larger-than-life artworks, and this new, exciting style made the pieces famous. Begin by turning your paper horizontal. Use a red pastel to create large petals with edges that touch all sides of the paper, but leave some room at the bottom for the stem. Add more details while teaching your child about the parts of a flower.

In the middle of the paper, use a black oil pastel to fill in the center (or pistil) of the flower. Then color in the petals with orange and yellow pastels, layering the colors on top of each other. Start with the orange and then blend it with the yellow by smudging your fingertips on the paper. Use more red to add details such as shading and shadow. Finish by using a black or green pastel to create the leafy parts (the sepal) beneath the petals, and shade in darker lines underneath some petals. Finally, use the black or green to draw and color in the stem at the bottom.

04 of 06

Number 8 by Jackson Pollock

Number 8 by Jackson Pollock
Sarah Lipoff

Set your limitless imagination loose with this spontaneous art.

What You'll Need: White paper; tempera paint (red, yellow, black blue); four small containers (cups or bowls); four paintbrushes; a smock; old newspapers or an old cloth sheet

Make It: Pollock used an innovative "drip and splash" technique that involved laying a canvas on the floor and moving 360? around it with different paintbrushes (instead of sitting or standing still in one place). Some consider Pollock to be one of America's greatest painters; his art was original and distinctive, as well as simple and fun to imitate. First, cover the floor of your work area (such as a garage or a driveway) with old newspapers or sheet cloth.

Turn your paper vertical and place it on the work area. Pour ? cup of each paint color into each of the small containers and then dip a separate paintbrush into each container. Stand above the white paper and let loose -- shake, drip, fling, wave, twirl, and splatter the paint on it. Don't be afraid to move around the paper in all directions with each paintbrush, layering each color until the paper is almost or entirely covered in an explosion of color.

05 of 06

Several Circles by Wassily Kandinsky

Several Circles by Wassily Kandinsky
Sarah Lipoff

Practice going round and round while staying in the lines.

What You'll Need: White paper; seven circular objects in all different sizes (cups, bowls, plastic lids, etc.); a black marker; watercolor paints; paintbrush

Make It: Kandinsky made a simple circle look exciting with smart placements. Through the use of shapes and lines, he created kaleidoscopic compositions. His paintings are considered to be the first abstract paintings, and many artists have copied his style. To create your own artwork, turn the paper vertical. Position one of the seven circular objects on the paper (you can start with the largest or the smallest object) and trace around it with the marker. Next, place and trace the rest of the circular objects where you want them.

Experiment with overlapping circles, circles barely touching, or circles within circles. Paint within the lines of each circle using different colors. You can paint circles one entire color or paint sections with different colors or blend colors together. Leave the background white to showcase the bright circles.

06 of 06

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso
Sarah Lipoff

Discover how things can be pieced together with simple shapes.

What You'll Need: White paper; construction paper (orange, yellow, blue, brown, black); black marker; scissors; glue

Make It: Picasso relied on straight lines and edges to transform geometric shapes and bold strokes into the figures of three musicians. The whimsical style he popularized, which simplified the subject matter, is known as Cubism. Turn the paper horizontal. Cut several squares, rectangles, or four-sided geometric shapes in all sizes from the colored construction paper. (You don't need stencils to create straight or perfect shapes; the more angled and unusual, the better.)

Arrange the pieces together on the paper so they create three human-like forms. The forms can be positioned however you like, but should be close to each other. You might want to use smaller shapes for heads, wider shapes for the bodies, longer shapes for arms and legs, and midsize shapes for the musical instruments. Use four to five large shapes for creating each of the three forms and one to two medium-size shapes for the instruments. Smaller shapes can be used for details. Glue the pieces down and use the black marker to embellish faces and instruments with lines, squares, circles, or zigzags.

Copyright &copy 2011 Meredith Corporation.

Sarah Lipoff loves using her background as an art educator to make lots of messy art projects and to stir things up in the kitchen with her daughter. Check out her blog, So Says Sarah..., at

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