Natural Textures


The colors and textures in nature inspire artists in so many ways. Explore the artwork of Alma Thomas, and use the elements of nature to create your own abstract drawing!


1. Do you see the leaves dance when the wind blows? Or the flowers come alive when the sun shines? Nature is constantly moving and changing around us. The colors, shapes, and movements in nature can be a great inspiration for interesting artwork!

2. Alma Thomas, an African American Expressionist painter, used the colors and patterns in nature to create a new abstract style of painting. She titled her paintings to let us know what they reminded her of in nature. What colors, shapes and patterns in nature can you think of? How many different textures can you recognize? Make a list with your class. How would these make interesting works of art?

3. Using Crayola Slick Stix™, create an abstract drawing on a piece of canvas painter’s tarp. Slick Stix contain pigments that may stain clothing, fabrics and other household surfaces. Wear a smock to protect clothing and cover your work surface with newspaper. Use the class list and Alma Thomas’ paintings to inspire your drawing!

4. Notice the texture that is created when the Slick Stix cover the canvas tarp! How can you use this texture to make your drawing more interesting? Be creative! Blend, swirl, and smudge colors together for exciting effects.

5. Give your drawing a title to let everyone know what the colors, shapes, textures, and patterns remind you of in nature!

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Color Explosion Spinner®— WARNING: People who are photosensitive (have had seizures induced by flashing lights and patterns) should not use this toy without first consulting a doctor. There is a possibility that photosensitivity may occur in children who have no history of prior seizures or epilepsy.

Adult Assistance is required for this arts & crafts project.


  • Gather items from nature such as tree bark, leaves, grass, and pebbles. Use Color Sticks™ Colored Pencils to make rubbings of each texture on a small square of paper. Punch holes in the corners of each square and weave together with yarn to create a texture quilt!
  • Write a short story to accompany your abstract drawing! Why are the leaves dancing in the trees? What makes their colors change in the fall? Be descriptive in your tale.
  • Display the students’ artwork for the entire class to see. Discuss the colors, shapes, patterns, and textures in the drawings. What do you recognize from nature? Can you guess what inspired each artist’s drawing?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Crayons
  • Classic Crayons
  • Classic Twistables® Crayons
  • Art Smock
  • Twistables® Slick Stix™ Crayons
  • Color Explosion™ Spinner
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • aprons
  • canvas painter's tarp



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour
  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Students identify patterns, colors, shapes, and textures in nature and simplify them into an abstract design.

  • Students explore the work of artist Alma Thomas and apply her techniques to their work.

  • Students contribute their thoughts and ideas to the class.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards