See of Blue: An Art Docent Project

What is Art?

It’s up to you.

Who views Art?

You do!

Who makes Art?

You do!

Who is the judge of Art?

Just you!

How is Art made?

You get to choose!

“See of Blue” is a work of visual art. It was created using leftover gray and blue acrylic paint and leftover silver sparkles. This piece was painted on wood. The artist chose to leave this artwork unfinished. She believed that people should be able to see art with their own unique *gaze.

The author was moved to create this piece while taking art making and art history classes. She was confused about the way she felt about art. She was shy to show people her own art work. She felt like she didn’t belong in Museums and Galleries that she went to for field trips. She quickly learned that everyone is welcome to look at art wherever they choose and everyone can make art however they choose. So she painted the “See of Blue” and turned it in to her teacher and received a school award.

*Gaze means the way in which we see and understand things based on our cultural perspectives and our own unique experiences.


Below is a printable version of the painting. It fits on 8×10 paper. This leaves a small amount of white space for children to put their name at the top and the title of their work at the bottom. I had success printing on white card stock though matte photo paper would be ideal. If you are tech savvy feel free to play with the version at the top of this post. I’m sure the contrast and size could be manipulated better than what I have accomplished below.

As you embark on your art lesson, please keep in mind the text and questions at the beginning of this post. Rather than guide the children to answers, go ahead and let their answers guide the conversation. What they see in art is up to them!

Guide your students to first outline the picture they see in the sea of blue, and then fill in or cover with any medium of their choosing.

***See letter below for more information on this project.***


Dear Art Docent Volunteer:

I was moved to create this project while pursuing my Culture, Literature and Arts Degree at University of Washington Bothell.  During my coursework in art and art history we took many trips to visit artists homes, museums and galleries. We also were encouraged to watch documentaries about how the art world operated.  I was flabbergasted by the world’s arts markets and how art was judged and priced.  I come from a small suburban town with little access to fine art so this was all new and daunting to me.  I felt an impostor in these posh galleries and exotic museums.  I felt like I could never be taken seriously as an observer of art or as an aspiring artist. 

One evening I had an art submission due and I created the “See of Blue”, an unfinished acrylic.  I started painting over an old wooden mural with blue and silver paint and some sparkles leftover from a craft day with young children.  I used roller brushes and sponge brushes to slather and slap on the paint.  I left for an hour to let it dry.  I looked at the contours of lines and the contrast of colors that the blue color left, a sea of blue.  I saw so many directions that I could have taken the painting in, but I paused.  I felt the insecurities creep in and then I got mad.  Mad at the injustice of how meek I felt by the concept of art.  I didn’t want anyone to feel the way I had about art for these last 46 years!  So I left my painting unfinished to make a statement, and I turned it in. 

The art department loved the idea so much that they gave me special recognition and hung my piece in the student art gallery for a quarter, it was also published online in our art and literary publication on campus.  I felt strongly that the next step was to make this an Art Docent project. 

I want children to know that they are not excluded from art and art history, no matter where they come from.  No one’s socio-economic status or geographical location should leave them out of this important documenting of history.  For that is what art is, is it not?  A way for artists to share their experience of time of place?

I hope you’ll consider using this piece in your next art docent project.  It’s perhaps best for children k-6, but could be presented to older students.  If you do use this lesson, please do contact me.  Tag me in pictures on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mama_donata/ or by email donata.thomas@gmail.com and if you could please, follow me at: indonataskitchen.com

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,

Donata Thomas