Please note: West Building is now closed through October 7, 2022, to complete an exciting reinstallation of the People’s Collection. During this time enjoy free exhibitions on view in East Building, indoor and outdoor events and programming, and the 164-acre Museum Park. We’re excited to welcome visitors back to a new Museum experience starting October 8, 2022. Learn more about the opening weekend celebration.

Art Snacks: Activities for Young Artists

Calling all little artists! Meet a work of art and get your creative juices flowing with monthly activities for 3- to 5-year-olds and their caregivers. This month we focus on Chris McCaw’s photograph Sunburned GSP #419 (Arctic Circle Alaska). Keep reading to discover more!


Chris McCaw’s photographs of landscapes at night have a special glow. Watch this video to look closely at the details in Sunburned GSP #419 (Arctic Circle Alaska) and learn about the special tools he used.

You can find other works of art that explore light and dark on view in the exhibition Reflections on Light: Works from the NCMA Collection.


Gather art supplies to create a landscape drawing inspired by Chris McCaw’s photography techniques! You can even create a burned-sun effect with a special tool. Can you guess what it is?

For this project, you’ll need:

– Two pieces of watercolor or mixed-media paper

– Pencil

– Chalk pastels

– Thin paintbrush

– Cup of water

– Black oil pastel or crayon

– Paper towels

– Hairspray

– Hole punch

Watch this video for ideas about how to create your landscape drawing! Then follow along with the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Create your monotone landscape.

– Close your eyes and imagine a place outside you like to explore. What do you see? A river? Trees? Mountains? The ocean? Draw this place using your pencil.

– Think about perspective. For example how big would trees close to you appear? How small would they look if they are far away?

– Using white and black chalk pastels, trace over your drawing and fill it in. Tip: you can explore different light and dark values by mixing your white and black pastels.

Step 2: Use your paintbrush and water to add details.

– Dip your paintbrush into the water and brush over the chalk pastels. Paint like you would using watercolors and watch the dark and light values blend.

– Add extra outline details with your black oil pastel or crayon.

Step 3: Create a colorful background.

– On your second sheet of paper, make a bright background using colorful chalk pastels. Try to cover the entire page!

Step 4: Spray your landscape and punch holes.

– Once your landscape is dry, seal it with hairspray. This will prevent the chalk from getting messy or rubbing away.

– Punch holes in your landscape to look like the sun moving across the sky. What path will the sun take?

– You can draw rings around the holes using your black and white pastels to make it look like the paper is sunburned.

Step 5: Glue your two layers together.

– Spread glue on the back of your landscape drawing and place it on top of your colorful background.

– Observe the colors that peek through the holes in your paper!

– Tip: mount your artwork on black construction paper for a polished finish.


Where can you find light and shadow in your world?

Share your finished artwork and your thoughts about light and shadow with us by tagging your photos with #NCMAArtSnacks.


Mar 24, 2021


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
For More Information:
(919) 715-5923
Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm
Scroll to Top