Bright, Bold Botany

Bright, Bold Botany lesson plan

See flower parts through the eyes of a famous artist! Georgia O'Keeffe's florals are a young botanists' dream.

  • 1.

    Georgia O'Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on November 15, 1887. She focused on close, intense observation in her art. Her subject matter was primarily natural forms, such as bones, landscapes of the Southwestern United States, and flowers. "Shapes jump out at me," she said.

  • 2.

    O'Keeffe's art, often close-ups of individual objects, sometimes crossed over from realism to abstraction because of her intense, precise way of looking at each object. She encouraged artists to "Try to paint your world as if you were the first man looking at it--The wind and the licat--and the cold--The dust and the vast starlit night...."

  • 3.

    Look closely at the following artworks by Georgia O'Keeffe: Red Canna, Shell No. 1, and Sky Above White Clouds. While you can see from the titles that these artworks have their basis in actual scenes or objects, they are so closely focused and clear of other objects that they seem nearly abstract. On the other hand, some of her work, such as Oriental Poppies and her Jack-in-the-Pulpit paintings are more recognizable and realistic.

  • 4.

    Identify the parts of a flower, and choose one to observe more closely. To create a floral painting in the manner of Georgia O'Keeffe, draw a large, simple outline of this flower with a Crayola® Crayon.

  • 5.

    Cover your table with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola Washable Watercolors to fill both the flower and the background with color. Include bold details and focus on the form. Dry.


  • Children research the bold, colorful paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe.
  • Students identify the parts of flowers, and select one for further study.
  • Children design floral artwork in the manner of Georgia O'Keeffe.


  • Younger students and some with special needs may find it helpful to study the part of flowers before making this O'Keeffe-style painting. Find real plants or pictures that show the wide variety of colors and types of flowers. Sketch flowers and label thei
  • Use Crayola Fabric Crayons to create an O'Keeffe inspired T-shirt. You'll need an adult to assist.
  • O'Keeffe also painted mountains and urban architecture. Try painting them in this same Precisionist style.