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Week 10 - Paint What You Can't See (family special)

Dernière mise à jour : 28 mai 2020

Theme of the week: art and spirituality

More and more families are participating in the Quarantined Museum community exhibition project. We have even heard from families who integrated the concept to their home schooling. In response, we would like to offer them one article per week intended for children aged 7 to 12. Of course, we recommend that families read it together to help each other and to discuss the themes!

There are no right or wrong answers. The whole family is invited to participate and discuss. You have the right to disagree, but you have to explain your point of view and listen to each other.

Let's start by thinking together about the following topics:

- What is spirituality?

- What do you think the invisible is?

- Are there things that cannot be seen, but seem present to you?

- The love of your parents, for example, cannot be seen. However, you know that it is there and that it is strong. How do you know it is there?

- What do you think is beyond the universe as we know it?

Spirituality: Spirituality is defined as the relationship between oneself and the invisible. To be spiritual is to want to rise (grow) in order to better understand and deepen this relationship, this connection to something greater than oneself.

Religions frame spirituality by a series of rules and rituals according to their respective beliefs. Moreover, in the past, the link between art and spirituality was mainly represented by religious art. However, a spiritual person is not necessarily religious, and today it is up to the artist to represent the invisible as he or she conceives it.

Let us look at the following work:

Nicolas Baier, (Black) Star, 2010.

Let's learn about the work and the artist:

- The artist, Nicolas Baier, lives and works in Montreal.

- He is interested in photography, sculpture and painting.

- He likes to mix science and the arts.

- To create this sculpture, Baier has:

- Scanned a real small piece of meteorite discovered in Arizona;

- Enlarged the image hundreds of times using a computer;

- Used a machine that materializes the work, in a kind of resin, layer by layer, using a laser. This is called stereolithography.

- Covered the surface of the sculpture with graphite.

- He called his sculpture (Black) Star:

- A star is a huge glowing ball of hot gas. The sun is the most well-known star.

- A black star (also called a black dwarf) is the evolution of a star that has cooled sufficiently to no longer emit visible light. It is a star that is going out!

- We also call black star a type of star that may have existed at the very beginning of the universe, before usual stars (like our sun) formed.

Meteorite: When a fragment of an asteroid or comet enters the atmosphere, resists decay and reaches the ground, it is called a meteorite.

Scanner: An electronic device that allows an object to be transferred to digital files (for the computer).

Materialize: To represent (an idea, an abstract action) in material form.

Graphite: Graphite is a material found in pencil leads. Graphite is composed mainly of carbon. Carbon is an essential element for life on earth. It is found everywhere... including the universe.

Let's look at the following details:

- If you could touch this artwork, would it be:

- Hard or soft?

- Warm or cold?

- Smooth or rough?

- Flat or bumpy?

- Heavy or light?

- If you could smell it, what would it smell like?

- If you could stick your ear to it, what would you hear?

- If you could bite into it, what would it taste like?

- If it could talk, what would it tell you?

- If it were a planet:

- What would its fauna (animals) and flora (plants) look like?

- Would there be inhabitants? If so, what would they look like?

Let's make some connections:

- Through this work, the artist:

- Recreates a meteor;

- Plays with dimensions;

- Questions our knowledge of the world;

- Questions our beliefs about things that exist "beyond";

- Makes us think:

- About our place in the universe (we are a speck of dust in infinity);

- About the origin of the world;

- About the invisible;

- About what's in space and "beyond"...

It stimulates our imagination to:

- Dream about the stars, the planets and the cosmos;

- Think about what's beyond our knowledge of space;

- Project ourselves into other universes!

Meteor: A meteor is a large fragment of an asteroid or comet that does not strike the ground of a planet. It becomes a meteorite when it hits the ground of a planet.

Let's have some fun:

What does infinity look like?

- In a small bowl, mix together:

- 2 tablespoons of dish soap,

- 2 tablespoons of water,

- 1 to 3 teaspoons of acrylic paint (gouache works very well).

- Using a straw, blow "gently" through your mixture to make bubbles.

- The bubbles should overflow from your bowl.

- Gently place a piece of cardboard over the bubbles.

- Let it dry and see what happens!

*Why not use several colors of acrylic paint?! To do so, wait until the first colour has dried well and then repeat the operation with another coloured mixture. Variation: don’t wait and immediately put your cardboard on top of other coloured bubbles.... Look and compare the result. What do you prefer?

You could also have fun dragging the cardboard over the bubbles (instead of dropping it) to see the different effects.

- While your cardboard dries, take a second piece of cardboard and draw circles of different sizes with a pencil.

- Using a ball of aluminum foil and paint, dab the inside of your circles.

- Let it dry, then cut out the circles and stick them on your first cardboard!

*Why not vary the textures?! Replace the aluminum foil with a sponge, a piece of rope, a rag, etc.

- Using felt-tip pens, you can add details like stars, asteroids, etc....

So, can you tell me:

Now that you've read, observed, learned and explored, have you changed your mind or can you complete your thinking from earlier?

- What is spirituality for you?

- What do you think the invisible is?

- What does infinity look like to you?

- Don't forget to send your creation to

This activity was prepared by Ariane Cardinal, Curator of Education at the Musée d'art de Joliette.


You have until Wednesday at noon to send us your creations inspired by the theme of the week.


Click here for more information.

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