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TOM from Home: Rock Forms (Grade 4-6)

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Image 1: Lawren Harris, Pic Island, 1925, oil on canvas. Gift of the Estate of Jennings David Young, 1999. Collection of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. Image 2: Lawren Harris, Islands, North Greenland, around 1930, oil on wood panel. Bequest from the Douglas M Duncan Collection, 1970. Collection of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery.

An activity for participants to investigate their own interpretation of a particular form in a painting. In this activity participants will look at the form of different rock islands.

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

Curriculum Notes: Activity participants will explore line, shape, and form as well as monochromatic colours. They will look at a particular show and form in a painting then copy the form for their own art. Monochromatic colours are explored by only using three shades of one colour. Designed for Grades: 4 -6 (Ages 9-12 years)



  • pencil

  • mixed media paper

  • oil pastel or wax crayon

  • modeling clay

  • activity can also be completed with: watercolour or acrylic paint, bristol or water colour paper


This activity is inspired by two painting by Lawren Harris. Participants will look closely at the rock islands and think about what the shapes remind them of. They will first sculpt the rock shape with modelling clay to view the form in a three dimensional shape. Then using three shades of one colour will draw or paint what they imagined.

Explore Lawren Harris' artworks

  • What do you observe about the brush strokes? Are they thick or thin? Rough or smooth?

  • What colours are in the painting? Are the colours vivid and bright or dull and subdued?

  • What do you think the shapes of the rocks create? Do you see anything familiar?


Step 1

Pick one of the rock shapes from either painting. What does the shape remind you of? Can

you see any familiar shapes or figures?

Step 2

Use your modeling clay and recreate the rock form you picked out

Step 3

With a pencil create a simple outline of what you saw in the rock form

Step 4

Pick out 3 different shades of 1 colour from your oil pastels. When we only use 1 colour

with different shares it is called monochromatic. You can do this with painting too! Pick one

colour and to make 3 different shades by adding a little bit of white or black paint to make

the paint lighter or darker

Step 5

Use your fingers or a blending stick to blend the 3 different shades together. Try to move

your fingers in the director of the shape. If you have a circular form, blend the colours from

the outside towards the middle. The same blending technique can be done with a

paintbrush and wet paint.

Step 6

Try adding more layers of colour so no paper is showing through. You can also try creating

contrast by placing the lightest colour beside your darkest colour. Don't forget to add some

details too!

Step 7

Take another colour and draw the rock form from the painting around the object you just


Share your creations with us @TomThomsonArtGallery

For more information on Lawren Harris visit this link

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