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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Visit the carle


Making Art Together

Telescope Stories

Inspired by the recent exhibition A Friend Among us: The Art of Brinton Turkle and the artist’s illustrations of the ocean and nature, we decided to explore views through telescopes in the Everyday Art Project, Sea . . . What Can You See?. We created our own viewfinder telescopes out of cardboard tubes and invited visitors to draw and paint scenes of what they might see when they look through a telescope.

On the tables we provided watercolor pencils and crayons, gel pens, water, and brushes as well as seashells and a range of books about the ocean for inspiration. We used color diffusing paper cut into different sized circles, inspired by the lens of a telescope.

If you are interested in learning more about watercolor pencils you can check out a recent blog post where we take a deeper look at this material and how it can be used in a variety of projects. Watercolor pencils and crayons proved to be a great material for this project, allowing scenes and characters to be drawn and painted in great detail.

Watercolor pencils also offered the opportunity to experiment with color blending, and allowed chance and unpredictability to enter our artmaking, as water combined with the pigment to move across the paper in unexpected ways.

The color diffusing paper we used is translucent, so we hung some of the artwork in our Art Studio windows where the colors of the pencils and crayons seemed to glow in the light.

Guests also added their artwork to a collaborative installation on our large display wall.

Before long, there were so many imaginative scenes, from stars and planets to ships and sea creatures, that we started to think of it as a wall of portals to other places.

When we said goodbye to the Brinton Turkle exhibition, our installation of telescope views remained in the Art Studio a little longer, and continued to inspire imaginative storytelling through words and images even as we moved onto new projects.



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 


by Meg Nicoll

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017 at 12:47 pm and is filed under By Meg Nicoll, Displays & Window Shades, Drawing, Light, Nature, Painting, Paper. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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