Let’s Get Started


This activity engages students’  imagination and gets them to think about how light affects the world around them. The way we see things is affected by the time of day and how light is reflected on our surroundings.


This activity requires very little preparation in regards to materials. Watercolour paint/Block Tempera, pencils, erasers, and paper are all that are required. It would also be helpful to have a few images of cities/buildings in different light.


Note: Have the example image of Lawren Stewart Harris’s Morning display for the class to refer to if needed.

  1. The class can start with a discussion by having students think about what their neighbourhood, houses or apartments look like in early morning light. Examples will be displayed at this time showing images of buildings/cityscapes in different light, and discussing how it affects the image. Does more sun make the image happy? Sad? If it is night, are the colours warm? Cold?
  2. After the discussion the students will be told that they are going to create their own drawing using watercolour paint. The teacher can explain that watercolour paint is similar to regular paint, only a bit more watery!
  3. Students will be told that they are going to create their own image, first in pencil, of buildings. This drawing can be a city, town, or just their house if that is what they want. As long as it includes a building then there are no limits.
  4. Students will be told to think about whether they want their image to be of the buildings in day light, evening light, night, etc, and to base their colour selections on that decision.
  5. Colour selections can take place at this time with the paint to colour in the drawing. Be sure to remind the students that colours reflect light, which is based on the time of day as that is the focus of this lesson.
  6. Once all drawings are completed students can have a class discussion and talk about their drawings and how they are representing the light within their image.

Tips and Tricks

Salt is a great add on as when it is sprinkled on watercolour or block tempera as it absorbs the water and creates unique effects!