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Art Inspired Activity

Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald. Jug on the Window Sill, 1943. chalk on paper, 60.8 x 45.7 cm. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Gift of the Women’s Committee, G-56-27.

Introduction to Activity:

Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald is one of Winnipeg’s most celebrated artists.  FitzGerald is said to have been a shy and introverted individual.  Some of his finest artworks capture quiet moments from his Winnipeg home, where he would look at a window and recreate what he saw.

During this time of physical distancing, we have been spending more time looking out the windows of our homes.  Out of my own window, I have noticed changes in my Winnipeg neighbourhood from day to day.  Snow melting on rooftops, squirrels and birds busily looking for food, grass starting to appear and become green, puddles growing and changing on the sidewalks.


  • Paper (whatever you have will do, it could be from a sketchbook, or any paper you have on hand. Even a used envelope will work)
  • Something to draw with (a pencil, a pen, a crayon. Use what you have)

Bonus materials: 

  • If you have something to colour with, such as pencil crayons, crayons, or markers, you can use them too.
  • A solid flat surface to place your paper is recommended to draw on, such as a clipboard, or a book.


  • Choose a window in your home.
  • What can you see out your window? Is your window up high, looking down on other buildings?  Can you see any cars or bicycles?  What elements of nature can you see?
  • Challenge yourself to create a drawing of what you see. You can choose to include part of the window frame in the drawing, just like L.L. FitzGerald would do.  You may choose to make a series of drawings from different windows in your home.  You could also choose to make a series of drawings from the same window every day for a week, or a month!  What changes do you notice in the setting of your artwork?  What changes do you notice in how your own drawing style is developing?
  • Be sure to date and sign each of your artworks. You may also want to add some writing to your drawing.

Pro tips:
Don’t know where to start or how to suggest depth in your drawing?

  • Begin by drawing the window frame with a ruler; aligning your paper with either the vertical or horizontal positioning of your window.
  • Draw a smaller parallel frame within the large frame, ensuring that all the lines are straight.
  • Now connect each of the four outer and inner corners with a pencil line.
  • Notice the angle of the inside corners and how they are slanted towards the centre of the artwork.
  • You can lightly draw these lines in toward the centre of the drawing as they will help you to create one point perspective or the illusion of depth.
  • What do you see outside your window? Are there trees, other buildings?
  • If you are drawing buildings or any other forms with receding straight lines, follow the angles of the corner lines to create a sense of depth or perspective.
  • Another way to create depth in your drawing is to begin by starting with the larger objects in the foreground (that are closest to you), and then drawing in the objects further in the distance, gradually making them smaller and smaller the further away they appear.

For more inspiration read this Winnipeg Free Press article, Through the Disquieting Looking Glass

Note to teachers, parents, and guardians:

We are experiencing a significant moment in history.  Our students and children will tell stories of this time for years to come.  Creating artwork that records these daily moments will help to document the experience for them as well as provide some grounding moments of art making and reflection.



9 thoughts on "Art Inspired Activity"

Pamela Jeffrey says:

Thank you for the inspiring ideas and the opportunity to see images Fitzgerald’s work – I cannot wait until the gallery re opens. For all of you keeping our wonderful gallery “alive” for us, stay well and safe.

Winnipeg Art Gallery says:

Thank you for your support! We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to the Gallery when it is safe to do so!

Andrea Bell Stuart says:

Thanks for this Colleen!

Pam Mason says:

Love it! I’ll be ‘assigning’ this to my students for at home learning!

This activity is perfect for these stressful days in which there is so much uncertainty. Taking time to stop – really stop – and see what is outside my window puts me in touch with the present moment. Looking outside my window I can see so much for which I am grateful. I get perspective. Thank you for suggesting this activity.

Elvira Kampen says:

What a wonderful activity for young as well as old. So amazing to see anything of L.L. FitzGerald’s genius. Thanks for posting, Colleen! Think I’ll take you up on it- I especially like your comment about how to remember this watershed year!

Aubrey says:

I found this artwork project very inspiring. So thank you for the brilliant idea. For something to do well you are stuck at home during these rough times.

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