Red Groyne by South Shields Artist Sheila Graber

This picture was made in 2019. It is a copy of a drawing
Sheila made in 1972, hence the pilot cutter on the sea.

All about this activity

  • Take One Treasure is a creative activity focusing on a selected item from the collections of South Shields Museum & Art Gallery.
  • Being creative offers us the opportunity to give ourselves time to think, to reflect and to pretend. We hope that you find the activities in this resource enable you to switch off from the stress of daily life and allow you to relax and focus on your creative process, develop all your senses, and to try something new. Here we introduce an effective way of doing this using slow looking and sensory materials. The following activities will help you to focus on the power of creative play.
  • For these activities, you can use everyday objects, personal items, and craft materials you have at home. Check you have permission before using.
  • At the end of each activity, we ask you take a photograph of your work and email it to us to be included in our Online Art Gallery on our Facebook page. 

Have fun and we look forward to seeing your creative Treasures.

Red Groyne by South Shields Artist Sheila Graber
Red Groyne by South Shields Artist Sheila Graber

This picture was made in 2019. It is a copy of a drawing Sheila made in 1972, hence the pilot cutter on the sea. A major retrospective exhibition entitled Sheila from Shields, her cat and the rainbow opens at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery on May 17, 2021. At the heart of Sheila’s work is the belief that life is rich in pattern, woven and interwoven by everyone’s creativity, and at the core of each of us is an artistic drive that can channel self-expression in many forms, each with equal power, value and relevance.

Activity 1 - Slow Looking

Slow Looking is getting to know a work of art by spending time looking at it in detail slowly. It is a process that will enable you to really absorb what you are looking at. Practising slow looking will enable you to switch off from the stress of daily life and allow you to relax and focus on your creative process and develop all your senses.

  • Spend five minutes quietly looking at this painting. Try to explore all the different areas of the picture, try to notice the colours, shapes, objects, time of day, season, etc.
  • If your mind wanders don’t worry, bring your attention back to the picture.
  • Pay attention to how this picture makes you feel. Does it trigger any memories, positive or negative feelings, does it make you feel calm or excited?

Activity 2 - Imagine and create

When you spend long periods of time slow looking, you will become aware of your senses, deepen your focus and develop a familiarity with what you are looking at. Through this familiarity you can create an imaginary world full of sounds, smells, sensations and pretend to be transported into the picture.

  • Look again at the painting quietly for another few minutes and focus on the sounds you might hear, the textures you might feel, the scents you smell, the things you would see, and how the air and water might feel.

Create your own sensory bin to go along with the painting Red Groyne.

  • Try and recreate those sensations using things you can find at home or outside. What can you use to recreate the sky, the sea, the sand, the smell of the air and the feel of the ocean on your skin? Don’t forget about what you might find in the water, on land and in the air, the boat and the Groyne.
  • Place all your items in a box or other suitable container. Print out the painting or try to create a copy with art materials you have. Attach the picture to the box or container and have fun playing with friends, family or on your own.

Activity 3 - Pretend and Create

  • Let’s pretend. How many ways can you use the painting Red Groyne by Sheila Graber to spark pretend play on your own, with friends, or family? Below are some suggestions but making up your own ideas is encouraged.
  • Pretend to swim in the sea. Will you do the butterfly stroke, the crawl or tread water? What does it feel like on your skin and between your toes? You can take a bath in your bathing suit, and afterwards put rice, flour, or breadcrumbs in a bowl and play with it letting it run through your fingers or toes like grains of sand.
  • When you get out of the sea, pretend to lie on a beach blanket or towel. Maybe you prefer to sit on one of the large rocks. Look up and admire the sun setting or is it a sunrise? Is the air warm, cool or breezy? Maybe you want to toast some marshmallows over an open fire on the sand to keep warm.
  • Pretend to be a sailor, a pirate, a boat captain, a smuggler hiding your goods on the shore, or a treasure hunter. Dress up and use a piece of furniture as your boat or sit on the floor and move your arms like oars in the water. Shake a sheet, towel, or shirt slowly to create the sound of a sail blowing in the wind.
  • Pretend to be a creature or animal that lives in the rocks, under the Groyne, in the sand, up in the sky or in the sea. Fly, crawl, hop, slither, float, splash, crab along, quack, squawk, click, cluck and screech.
  • Create a puppet theatre and show based on your pretend adventures.
  • Use the picture you made of the groyne or a printout of the real painting as a backdrop to a puppet theatre. You can use a shoe box or cereal box. Create your characters and props out materials you have at home. 
  • Perform your adventures for friends and family.
  • Here is a link for a video on making a puppet theatre:

Activity 4 -The Art of the word

Create a list of words and phrases that describe the painting by Sheila Graber.

  • Describe the setting, sounds, smells, colours, feelings, memories and emotions that you have experienced whilst playing and slow looking.

Write a poem or story using this vocabulary as inspiration.

  • Make a large picture of the Groyne and fill it in with your words and phrases or your poem to make picture art.

Share what you create

Share what you have created with us - email us images or words to to help us create an online Facebook Gallery, by using @S_ShieldsMuseum #SSMAGatHome on Twitter.