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TOM from Home: Leaves and Flowers (Grade K-3)

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Painting by Daphne Odjig
Tom Thomson, Wildflowers, oil on composite wood-pulp board. Gift of Louise (Thomson) Henry, sister of Tom Thomson. Collection of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery.

An activity inspired by Tom Thomson's Wild Flowers designed for participants to observe lines and textures from nature and explore the fundamental rules of colour mixing.

This activity has been designed and created by Muriel Farmer, MA Candidate Nova Scotia College of Art.

Curriculum Notes: Activity participants will explore the elements of line, texture, colour, organic shapes, and forms. Colour is emphasized by mixing primary colours to create secondary colours, and using white and black to create different shades of colours. Organic forms and textures are explored with crayon rubbings and cut-outs from leaves. Designed for Grade K-3 (Ages: 3-8)



  • fresh or pressed leaves

  • crayons

  • black paper

  • tracing paper/tissue paper

  • scissors

  • glue

  • paint palette, or a surface to hold the paint (ex. paper plate, piece of cardboard)

  • paintbrush

  • jar or glass for water

  • acrylic paint (red, yellow, blue, white)

  • apron or paint smock to wear

  • paper towel


This activity allows for participants to create an artwork inspired by Tom Thomson's Wildflowers painting. Participants will begin by collecting leaves and using wax crayons rub the leaf patterns onto tissue paper. Then they will cut out their lea rubbings and glue them onto a black piece of paper. Participants will paint, and learn the mixing of primary colours into secondary colours as well as mixing colours with white paint.

Explore Tom Thomson's Wildflowers

  • How many colours do you see? What type of colours? Are they cool or warm toned?

  • What directors do the lines in the artwork go? Left to right? Up and down?

  • What shapes do you notice in the flowers and leaves? Circles? Ovals?

  • What type of leaves and flowers do you see? Do you think Tom Thomson made a floral bouquet or is this an outdoor scene?

Tom Thomson, Wildflowers, oil on composite wood-pulp board. Gift of Louise (Thomson) Henry, sister of Tom Thomson. Collection of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery.


Step 1

Go outside and collect some leaves; these could be from your garden, part, forest, or field.

What type of leaves did you collect? What makes each leaf different? Observe the different

colours and shapes of each leaf.

Step 2

Place your leaf underneath the tissue paper. Use a dark coloured crayon (such as blue or

black) and gently rub the crayon on top. Do you notice the leaf structure and patterns?

Step 3

Use your scissors to carefully cut out the leaf rubbing. Be careful scissors are sharp! Ask for

help with this step if you need.

Step 4

Glue your leaf rubbing cutouts onto black paper.

Step 5

Now it's time to paint. Time to put on your painting smock and prepare your work space.

Step 6

Place some red, yellow, and blue paint on your pallet leaving some space in between the

colours for mixing.

Step 7

Time to mix your primary colours to create secondary colours! Investigate what colours you

create. What happens when you mix blue and yellow? Red and blue? How many colours can

you make? What happens when you mix white or black paint with the colours?

Step 8

Time to paint some flowers are grass. Using Wildflowers for inspiration create your own

artwork. What types of flowers will you paint?

Share your creations with us @TomThomsonArtGallery

For more information on Tom Thomson visit this link

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