Inspiration from the Greats: Women Artists

Representation matters, and if you too noticed that all the artists mentioned in my previous post were guys, I am here to fix that with a round up of fun activities inspired by some great women artists.  If you know of other fun activities inspired by female artists that belong in this list, let me know!


Over at Mommy Maestra they’ve collected a bunch of possibilities for exploring Frida Kahlo’s work at different age levels (though mostly younger).  I was especially glad to see a  number of great books recommended!

Photo of Frida Kahlo.  Click for source link

Photo of Frida Kahlo. Click for source link

And in honor of the lady’s signature hairstyle, a fun set of directions on how to make a Kahlo-inspired floral headband.


There are a couple of useful links at Practical Pages, part of a long list of artist resources, in fact.  The two stand-out activities for O’Keefe feature setting up a still life inspired by her Skull & Roses painting, and using a computer-assist to emulate O’Keefe’s ‘zoomed in flowers’ style.  I personally think you could skip the computer step and instead experiment with a variety of magnification tools instead.  I’m a fan of the loupe style that means one can work hands-free (like the Private Eye style) — or a big tripod magnifier.  That way you can work in some math and science with thinking about scale and identifying flower parts.

Computer-zoom and 'pencil sketch' filter + watercolors

Computer-zoom and ‘pencil sketch’ filter + watercolors

And be sure to hop over to Grant Snider’s blog, “Who Needs Art?” to check out his beautiful webcomic about visiting the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.


Lots of the ideas I found for Mary Cassatt focused on process and on content (the importance of connection between the people in her paintings) as opposed to signature style.  Check out the directions for a cute pastel drawing activity, or these mixed media works inspired by Children Playing on the Beach.

Child's pastel drawing inspired by Mary Cassatt.  Click for source

Child’s pastel drawing inspired by Mary Cassatt. Click for source


Over on Practical Pages again, there are a few fun explorations of Morisot’s paintings.  The author relies more than I would on using traced outlines of actual paintings by the artist–but trying to pencil in the right proportions when copying a Sargent watercolor nearly defeated me last week, so I’m not going to object too strenuously.   I will, however, say that philosophically, I think sketching/doing one’s own line work is better in the long run for exploring the creative process.

That said, the blogger and her daughters made some amazing collages inspired by Morisot’s “The Cradle,” each turning out differently despite using the same line art to begin.

Collage inspired by The Cradle. Click for source.

Collage inspired by The Cradle. Click for source.

She also has a painting activity inspired by “The Butterfly Catchers,” which just begs for a unit done outside, with butterfly nets and a combined art/science observation lesson.

Finally, just as a new year reminder, Brain Popcorn also exists in a (less formal, more frequently updated) tumblr version, with bonus occasional posts about politics, geekery, and women’s issues to intermingle among the museum and education posts.  Drop by to say ‘hi!’

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