Home Studio: Artful Words

August 10, 2020


As we begin to return to school across our state and nation, we understand that feelings of anxiety are still high due to COVID-19 and that “returning to normal life” does not really exist. This Home Studio project teaches students to both think critically and express creatively, exercising brain power while releasing stress through the artistic process. We encourage families to enjoy looking at and discussing art together, then make works of art that uniquely blend creative writing with the visual arts!


To exercise critical thinking, writing, and drawing skills through the creation of a visually-embellished poem or short story, designed after interpreting works of art from the MMFA’s collection.



  • Pencil and eraser
  • Paper (any size; a light color or white is preferred for easy writing)
  • Ultra-fine Sharpie or permanent marker
  • Colored pencils, crayons, or markers


  • Analyze – To look very closely and consider every detail.
  • Composition – Another term for writing, this is how the words are put together to form the full idea.
  • Content – The theme or main idea that is being represented in a work of art.
  • Interpret – To translate from one format to another (in this instance, to translate from visual images to descriptive ideas and words).
  • Subject – The focus of a work of art.


Explore: Search the Museum’s newly-redesigned Permanent Collection Website for a work of art that inspires you. The new search format allows you to explore by artist name, the title of a work, or even the subject of the work of art via keywords. Our example is inspired by Red Fish by Leonard Koscianski.

Analyze and Interpret: After you choose your inspiration, take time to look closely at the image, and analyze its content. Here are some helpful questions to get you started:

  • What is happening in the work of art?
  • What is the subject of this work of art?
  • What colors are used, and how do they make you feel?
  • What might you hear if you were in this artwork?

If needed, use the questions above to prompt a discussion about the piece so you can develop some ideas to write about.

Write: Choose your favorite idea, pick up a pencil, and get writing! Your composition is your choice—you can write a poem, a short short (also known as flash fiction, these are less than 500 words), pick out particular descriptive words that you feel best relay your interpretation of the chosen work of art to create a word cloud or any other style you think best conveys your idea.

Outline: Use the ultra-fine sharpie or permanent marker to trace directly over your written pencil lines. This will help them stand out after you have added colorful embellishments in the next step. After you finish outlining, erase any excess pencil marks if needed.

Embellish: Now it’s time to get extra creative! Use whatever art materials you have available to add designs that mirror concepts from the original work of art, especially any that are highlighted in your writing. Have fun!

Conclusion + Share Your Work

We love seeing your creations! If you would like us to share your work on the MMFA’s website and social media outlets, please email images of your finished works of art to pr@mmfa.org. Make sure to include the following information in the email: the name and age of the artist, the title for your word art, the title of the original artwork from the MMFA’s collection that inspired your creation.

Scroll to Top