Wildflowers of Utah in the Style of Georgia O’Keeffe

Author: Christine Palmer
Year: 2020
Artform: Visual Art
Subjects: Science
Grade: 4th Grade

Go big or go home! Students choose wildflowers found in Utah and illustrate them in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe.


Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards

Standard 4.V.CR.1

I can brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem.

Standard 4.V.R.3:

I can refer to contextual information and analyze relevant subject matter, characteristics of form, and use of media.

Standard 4.SCI.5.2.A

I can identify common plants and animals that inhabit Utah’s forests, wetlands, and deserts.

Teaching and Timeline


Georgia O’Keeffe Background

One of the main objectives of looking at Georgia O’Keeffe’s work is to help make students aware of her unique perspective. O’Keeffe drew and painted very large, stylized images inspired by nature that were often unrecognizable. This is a good opportunity to help students become aware that they can take the following liberations in their own drawings:

  1. Be brave enough to take risks or draw things people might not recognize
  2. Draw things so big they might even go off the page
  3. Place drawings somewhere other than in the center of the page

Georgia O’Keeffe Background: Show students the slide presentation about Georgia O’Keeffe.

  • Pause on slide 2 and read: “Notice that is different about the way Georgia O’Keeffe paints.”
  • This will prepare students to look closely at her work.
  • Pause on slide 10 and let students answer the question:
    • “What did you notice that was different about the way Georgia O’Keeffe painted?”
    • She painted really big, the pictures didn’t look very realistic, the pictures went off the paper, the colors were a lot the same (monochromatic), etc.
  • Pause on slide 11 and let students answer the question:
    • “Why do you think we usually make our drawings really small?”
    • We are afraid to make mistakes, it’s easier, it’s just the way we always have done it.
  • Have students answer the next question on slide 11:
    • “Why do we feel like we need to put our pictures in the middle of the paper?”
    • So people see it, because we always do it, I don’t know.
  • Reiterate the fact that Georgia O’Keeffe was a brave artist who was not afraid to paint differently, even if that meant people would not recognize a flower as a flower.
  • We can definitely choose to center our drawings on our page if we want, but we should also not be afraid to take risks in art.

Work Period

Visual Art Studio Activity



  1. Find a cool picture of a Utah wildflower or use one from the Google Slide Presentation on Utah Wildflowers
  2. Zoom in really close… EVEN CLOSER to find an interesting part of the flower you want to draw.
  3. STUDENT CHECK TIME! Students will draw flowers as “light as a feather” with their pencils. Before moving on to oil pastels, make sure their flowers are humongous. This is the hardest part for everyone, but a good drawing will set them up for a good result.
  4. Teach students how to layer their oil pastels by adding LIGHT layers of different colors over the top and blending with the oil pastel or a finger.
  5. As the students look closely at their wildflower, they should notice that there are many colors blended together in every flower. A simple white flower probably has hints of blue or purple. A yellow flower will have a variety of yellows, oranges, red, and white in it.

Helpful tip: Give each student a piece of scrap paper to wipe off their oil pastels after using them to blend other colors. This will clean them off for next time!


Science Content – Wildflower Background:

The American Southwest website is incredible for wildflower identification and information. Students can click on their wildflower and it pulls up extensive supporting content.

Show this Google Slide Presentation on Utah Wildflowers highlighting about 30 choices for students

Wildflower Writeup: As an assessment, students could include some of the following information:

  • Wildflower: a flower of an uncultivated variety or a flower growing freely without human intervention.
  • Native-Species: (biology) A type of plant, animal, or living thing that normally lives and thrives in a particular ecosystem.
  • Shading: Adding dark and light values •Overlapping/Mixing: Using light layers of oil pastels to create other colors and depth
  • Abstract: Not recognizable
  • Magnified: Much larger than actual size





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