Are you up for an art challenge?

Art activities inspired by Jim Campbell's exhibition for creative kids and adults to do at home.

Jim Campbell gets new ideas for his paintings all the time. He likes to take risks and challenge himself with his art. When he turned 60 he memorably set himself the challenge of painting 60 paintings in 60 days! In his newest exhibition, The Very Subjective Exhibition, Campbell challenges himself again, using new materials and drawing inspiration from abstract art. In these works, Campbell has found new ways to work with colour and to show movement within the paintings.

Jim Campbell, Fractured Lines (2018), acrylic on gesso illustration board

Challenge 1

Spend some time closely studying Fractured Lines (2018). Think about the colours, shapes and lines. Could you use objects from around your house to recreate this image in 3D? Maybe try LEGO or small toys to represent the colourful small squares.

Take a photo of what you create and share it with us.

Take it further - Make your own String Den

Make your own string den

What you need:

A place in your house where there are lots of things to tie string to.

A selection of wool, string, scrap fabric etc.

What you do:

Tie your sting to door handles and furniture - connect things together, go around corners. Interlock and weave the sting to make a spider’s web that you will need to wiggle and bend to get through. Tie fabrics to the string to make solid blocks of colour.

What to do

Jim Campbell, Not your average checkers board (2018), acrylic on gesso illustration board

Challenge 2


Think about why Jim Campbell might choose these colours for his artwork? What do these colours remind you of? Play a game of colour association i.e. green - new leaves, yellow - honey. Think about how different colours can represent different feelings. Think carefully about the colours you like and what colours you think work well together. 


Shapes are important in Jim Campbell’s work. What are your favourite shapes, if you could change Campbell’s compositions, what shapes would you use? Using coloured card or paper, cut out some geometric shapes and arrange them in a collage of your own.

Take it further

Make your own Drawing Machine

drawing machine
What you need

Felt tip pens, a selection of sticks, rods or LEGO, tape or string, large paper such as newspaper

What you do

Make a selection of your favourite colour felt tip pens. Tie them to the sticks and then tie the sticks to each other until you have a fixed structure/drawing machine where all the pen nibs are at the same level and can touch the page at the same time. Hold your drawing machine in the middle and draw a simple shape. All your pens should be drawing at the same time but in different places on the paper.

How big could you make your machine? If you used larger sticks could you use it outside to draw in a sandpit? Could you use chalk on concrete? Could you make it so big that your whole family has to help you operate it? How would your artwork change if you attached paintbrushes to the ‘arms’ of your machine instead?