Art Resources

Family Art Activities - Provided by the Varley Art Gallery of Markham

For families and children ages 4+, with help from a parent. Check back regularly as new activities get added.


Art Work
Description
Cranberry Lake

Image credit: Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945), Cranberry Lake, 1938, oil on board, 30.0 x 40.5 cm.
Collection of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Gift of Jack MacQuarrie, 2017.

This is a landscape painting.

Can you describe what you see? Where do you think this is and how can you tell? Are the clouds moving fast, or slowly?

Now, think about how this painting makes you feel. Are you happy to be in this place?

It’s your turn!

Look outside of your window.

What do you see? How do you feel?

Draw a picture using the suggested materials to draw or paint your own landscape.


Garden at Thornhill

Image credit: J. E. H. MacDonald (1873-1932), Garden at Thornhill, 1931, oil on Board, 21.5 x 26.7 cm.
Collection of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Gift of the Estate of Kathleen Gormley McKay, 1996.

This is a landscape painting.

What do you think the artist called this painting? How many colours can you count?

Colours are everywhere! Can you see any colours popping up in your garden?

It's your turn!
What is your favourite colour?

Go around your house and collect everything made of your favourite colour. How many pink, green or yellow objects can you find?

Look in the fridge and on your bookshelves. Then, make a sculpture of a flower using the objects that you found!


Wind in the Pines

Image credit: F.H. [Franz] Johnston (1888-1949), Wind in the Pines, 1927, tempera on board, 101.6 x 76.2 cm. Collection of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Gift of Jack MacQuarrie, 2017.

This is a landscape painting.

What do you see? Can you tell if it is a windy day?
The trees might look like they’re dancing.

It’s your turn!

Stand up tall. As tall as you can and pretend that you’re a tree. Reach way, way up and stretch your fingers out like branches.

Pretend that the wind is calm, but then grows stronger and stronger! How does your body move in the wind? Do your arms sway side to side? Do your feet stay planted, like roots in the ground?



Head of Kathy

Image credit: F. H. Varley (1881-1969), Head of Kathy, c. 1952-53, charcoal and graphite on paper, 38.0 x 32.0 cm. Collection of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Gift of the Estate of Kathleen Gormley McKay, 1996.

This is a portrait.

It looks like Kathy is happy and smiling! What do you think made Kathy laugh?

Do you know a funny joke?

It’s your turn!

Sit in front of a mirror and make a funny face.
Now try to draw yourself using only pencil and paper.
The only rule is, you can't look at your paper while you draw!

Carnations

Image credit: F. H. Varley (1881-1969), Carnations, 1939, watercolour over graphite on paper, 20.5 x 15.0 cm. Collection of the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Gift of the Estate of Kathleen Gormley McKay, 1996.

This is a still life.

What do you think a still life painting is? Do you think this took a long time to paint? Why?
How many different textures can you spot?

It’s your turn!

Look around your home for objects you want to draw (a favorite toy, food, plants, or anything!) Set up your objects on a table in a nice arrangement.

Using materials you already have draw what you see. Remember to use texture, and shading to create depth!


Art materials you might already have:
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Markers, crayons, pencil crayons
  • Pencil
  • Charcoal
  • Acrylic paint, gouache
  • Watercolour set
  • Paint brushes
  • Old containers or jars for water
  • Playdough
  • Glue
  • Magazines or old picture books

Art materials found around the home: 
  • Try drawing and painting on these surfaces! (make sure to get permission first!)
  • Paper
  • Tissue
  • Paper towels and toilet paper
  • Old t-shirts, towels or rags
  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • Wax paper, parchment paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cardboard or Styrofoam
  • Food colouring

You might also have these tools to paint with: 
  • Toothpicks
  • Old toothbrush
  • Paper towel
  • Old t-shirts or rags
  • Fruit
  • Fork, knife or spoon
  • Your Hands!
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Straws
  • Cardboard
  • What else can we use to apply paint?


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