This unique winter landscape art project is inspired by Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh.
Vincent Willem van Gogh is one of the most famous and influential painters of Western art. His work is most known for his expressive use of color, dramatic brushwork, and contoured forms.
Van Gogh was a very prolific artist. He created about 2,100 works of art in just over 10 years.
Van Gogh drew as a child and was a serious, quiet and thoughtful artist. As a young man, he even worked as an art dealer. Van Gogh did not know much success as an artist while he was alive.
After his death, his work became notable as elements of his painting style were incorporated into other art movements. His paintings grew in popularity in the early 20th century and he became one of the most recognized artists in the world.
Many of Van Gogh’s landscapes feature cypress trees. I chose a winter landscape featuring a cypress tree for this project.
The inspiration piece for this art project is Road With Cypresses, 1890.
We’re going to give this art project a unique twist!
Instead of painting the landscape with paint, we are going to create a mosaic with painted rice.
A mosaic is a picture created by arranging and gluing small pieces of hard material to a flat surface.
We are going to “paint” our rice with different colors before applying it to our background.
Supplies needed for this project are:
- Black paper or canvas
- Tempera paint
- Clear glue or white glue that dries clear
- Paper plates
- Sandwich size Ziploc baggies
- Uncooked white rice
For the first step, use the glue to create your cypress tree landscape drawing. Use the inspiration piece as a guide.
Feel free to eliminate the smaller details of the landscape and focus just on the large shapes.
Allow the glue to dry overnight. The white glue will appear clear once it’s completely dry. If using clear glue, just make sure it’s completely dry before you continue.
Now it’s time to paint our rice.
Rice painting instructions:
- Place a small amount of rice in a baggie (about a cup)
- Squeeze in a dollop of tempera paint (about a tablespoon or so)
- Close the baggie and shake and smoosh (that’s a technical term 😉 the rice around to coat it completely with paint.
- Check the color – if it’s not what you want, add a little more paint to change it. Be careful not to get the rice too wet with paint.
- Once you have the color you need, spread the painted rice out on a paper plate and allow it to dry.
- When the rice is completely dry, loosen the grains with your fingers and remove any rice that stuck to the plate while drying.
Next, it’s time to apply your painted rice to the drawing.
First coat the area you’d like to cover with a good layer of glue. Next, pour your rice over the glue area to completely cover it.
Pat the rice down gently to make sure it adheres to the glue well and all glue is covered with rice.
Shake the excess rice off the paper once you fill in each area.
One by one, fill each area of your landscape with the colors indicated by our inspiration piece.
Feel free to mix certain colors as you like based on Van Gogh’s colors in his landscape.
Set your mosaic aside and allow the glue to dry completely.
Once your painting is dry, use your paint brush and tempera paint to add a few details in the sky and any other areas you would like based on the inspiration painting.
Our final Van Gogh inspired mosaic.
Here’s our artwork alongside our Vincent van Gogh inspiration piece.
Save any unused painted rice for future mosaic projects. Most of all, have fun and be creative!
Note: To preserve the integrity of the mosaic and keep any stray rice from detaching from the art I coated the final piece with a light layer of Mod Podge.