Family Activities: Tree of Life
By Courtney Klemens, Manager of Family Programs
You can find flowers, winged animals and insects, and stars evenly arranged on both sides of Minnie Evans’ drawings. Make a colorful and symmetrical composition that includes natural and manmade materials on a flat surface. See if you can find objects with different colors or textures, or perhaps include leaves, sticks, or other materials you can gather from the outdoors. Can you create balance in your display? See an example in the image gallery below.
You might find some of the earliest materials that Minnie Evans used for her drawings in your home: crayons! A nature-inspired rubbing can showcase these colorful tools. First, collect flat and textured materials in nature, like leaves or pine needles. To create a rubbing, place each leaf under a piece of paper and rub the side of a crayon over it to reveal colorful textures and details. Cut out your rubbings and glue them to a piece of construction paper to arrange them. You can also enhance your composition with lines or other marks! See an example in the image gallery below.
Dreamy sensory bin
Minnie Evans received ideas for her drawings from dreams and visions that incorporated images of nature, religious figures, and abstract shapes. You can tap into your imagination through your five senses by creating a sensory bin for exploratory play. A large flat container like a storage box or a baking sheet works to contain your materials. First, fill the container with small objects like dried beans or rice. Then, you can fill the bin with colorful objects that bring to life Minnie Evans’ drawings and dreams: fake flowers, dolls, animal figurines, or found materials. Use the sensory bin to sort objects by color, touch and discover distinct textures, or put together a story that includes objects in the bin. There are many ways to play in this open-ended activity! See an example in the image gallery below.
You can get to know Airlie Gardens, where Minnie Evans worked as the gatekeeper for 27 years. The vibrant flowers and natural wildlife of the gardens inspired many of her drawings! Discover more through the Gardens’ environmental education videos, found here.
Painting Dreams: Minnie Evans, Visionary Artist by Mary Lyons
Dive deeper into the life and world of Minnie Evans. This book is a great introduction to her world with beautiful images of how her art developed over time.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
This lyrical book explores the hidden world of a garden that you’ll discover if you look closely with an observant eye.