Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Drawing Nature Painting

Telescope Stories

Meg Nicoll

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.

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.


Meg smiling in the Art Studio.

Meg Nicoll

Art Educator at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art from 2016 to 2023, Meg enjoys working with artists, educators, and people of all ages to create opportunities for art-making.