Art Competition for Schools and Families | Special Education Schools

Theme: Amazing Nature

These resources aim to encourage children to create their own artworks, inspired by artworks in the National Galleries of Scotland Collection.

Here you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss, with some additional images included below. There are suggestions of things to think about, what to make and examples of materials that can be used.

Things to think about:

  • What can you see in the landscape?
  • Does it look like a nice place to explore?
  • What season is it? What is the weather like?
  • What colours has the artist used for the trees? The water? The ground?
  • What kind of marks has she made? Smudges, wavy lines, dabs, scribbles?



The artist, Sophie Brzeska, used watercolour paints to create a range of different marks on the paper. She didn’t train as an artist but enjoyed making these rapid sketches of the outdoors.

Things to think about:

  • What type of natural objects did the artist collect for her picture?
  • What colours are they?
  • Why do you think she collected these flowers?
  • Can you spot a flower that hasn’t opened out yet? Can you spot one that she has pulled open so that you can see the inside?



The artist, Elizabeth Blackadder, used to collect flowers and press them when she was a child. When she made this picture she regularly used to visit the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh where she also ran a drawing course.

Things to think about:

  • What shape does the pattern in the picture make?
  • Does it remind you of anything?
  • Can you use your finger to trace it from start to finish?
  • Can you tell how the dots have been made?
  • What colour are the dots? They have been made with something the artist found outside. What do you think it is?



Richard Long collected mud from the River Avon and made this picture using his own fingerprints. He often uses nature as the subject and the material in his work. He also often uses his own body rather than tools.

Things to consider

Here are a few things to help spark the imagination.

Nature walks

  • Collecting natural objects: leaves, stones, shells, sticks, plants, pinecones
  • Pointing out colours and changes in the environment
  • Touching different surfaces and objects. Are they smooth or rough? Cool or warm? Wet or dry?
  • Taking photographs to look at indoors

Textures and colours

  • Autumn leaves, wet and dry, sky and clouds, flowers, different types of ground, looking at reflections and splashing in puddles

Unusual natural objects

  • Bark and leaf rubbings, ordering objects by size, type or shape, using mud or sand to make marks, exploring frost, ice and snow



A picture of something inspired by nature. It could depict natural objects or an outdoor scene. The picture could be realistic or abstract.


Any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer aided design, collage, montage) to make your piece. 

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Art Competition contact details

If you have any questions about the competition please get in touch.

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