Art around you | Alison Watt


Activities for children of all ages to look at, talk about and make their own discoveries about art.

As you explore this resource please keep in mind that there are no wrong answers, or that there is only one way to do the activities - they are all about looking, chatting, making, and exploring art, wherever you are and whatever you have around you.

You know your child best

Some activities may suit you better than others so pick and choose!


We’ve aimed the language at age 7+, but activities can be suitable for any age, just adapt to suit your child.


How long your child engages with the activity will vary. Depending on their age, the way they’re feeling that day, the immediate appeal of any activity... some will work better than others. Don't worry if they're not feeling it - try again another time, or move on to something else. You might be surprised by what they're interested in.  


We hope these suggestions will allow your child to develop their creativity by encouraging their curiosity, open mindedness, problem-solving and imagination.

Art knowledge

You don’t need to know anything about art to have fun with it. Encourage your child to share their ideas, observations and opinions. There’s never a wrong answer about art. And it's ok not to know all the answers. Nobody does. Where would the fun be in that?


If something worked, do it again!

Let your child lead

You don’t need to have all the ideas. In fact, if you really want your child to be creative, encouraging them to come up with their own ideas is a brilliant way to help your child be creative and explore their imagination.

Try to enjoy, together

Take a deep breath, you’re doing a brilliant job. Let us know if we can support you - we can't wait to see you in the gallery, as soon as we can.

Alison Watt



These activities are inspired by Alison Watt's painting Sabine. Her painted folds of fabric show her amazing attention to detail. She is inspired by historical painters (google 'Ingres' for one example) and the drapes of fabric that you can find in these paintings, but she makes them look and feel very modern.

Activity one: make it yours!

Alison Watt says that one of the functions of an artist is to create order out of chaos. Why don’t you try making order out of chaos?!

Pull everything out of a bag, a drawer or just your pocket. Look really closely and draw what interests you the most. Can you put everything back in a totally different way?

If this is too much chaos for you right now, why not wait until something needs tidied up and think about it - not as a chore - but as an art process!

"... I'm not just tidying up, i'm creating order out of chaos like Alison Watt...!"

Activity two: see, think, wonder

Look at this painting by Alison Watt for at least 60 seconds.

What does the title Sabine make you think about?

  • Who might Sabine be?
  • Where is she?
  • What questions would you ask her if she could speak to you?

Alison Watt has said that the world is chaotic and that making art helps her to make order out of the chaos. Think about things that are chaotic in the world, in your life, in your home, at school, in your head…

  • Is it ok for things to be chaotic?
  • What things would you like to be less chaotic?
  • What could you change? How?

Activity three: #arttogether - a mid-week challenge for all the family

Grab your sheets and create an Alison Watt-inspired 'art den' together in your home!
What are you going to do in your den? Who are you going to invite inside? 


Activity four: watch

Listen to Alison Watt describe what she thinks about the role of an artist. Do you agree? Can you make your own artist video sharing your ideas about art?

Activity five: is anybody there?

There's no human figure in this painting, but it still feels like somebody has been there or is hiding under the sheet. Can you make an artwork that shows the presence of someone, without showing that they are actually there?

One way to do this is by taking a photograph of your shadow. You can't see a face, but you can still recognise that a person is there...