Author: Sarah Clowe, Director of Art Programs

Materials: Paper, glue, and any variety of paint or other coloring media (like markers)


Take inspiration from artist Willie Marlowe and add words to your art!

The original work from the museum's collections, A Shrine to Stars, was created using mixed media. This means that a variety of materials were combined. What materials do you have on hand? Colored paper & glue? Paint? Markers? Bring them out and combine your favorites!  

Once you've finished your art feel free to email a picture of it to me at and I'll feature them in a Museum Makers gallery!

Paint or draw your background

In A Shrine to Stars, artist Willie Marlowe showcases a purple and pink sky with a teal ground. What colors will you put in your sky and on your ground?  

Painting with washable markers

Don't have paints handy? No worries! If you have washable markers, you can create a lovely watercolor paint effect.

  1. Find a smooth surface (like a plastic bag or a glass dish) and scribble some color from your marker on it.
  2. With a paintbrush or a q-tip, lightly brush a little water onto your page.
  3. Use your paintbrush or q-tip to pick up the color from your marker scribble and paint onto the paper.

Other marker paint techniques:

  • Draw with the markers and brush water over it to spread the color.
  • Lightly wet the paper and then draw on the wet paper to see the color instantly diffuse (spread).


Build your house

1. Use simple shapes to create an outline of a house.

Willie Marlowe used simple shapes to create her structure. I've copied her style and used a triangle for the roof with rectangles as support columns.

2. Choose where you'll add words to your artwork

If the space between your house structure is dark, you may want to paste in some light colored paper so you're able to add words to your artwork.

Add your words

Are there any important words or phrases you've heard lately? Try adding them to your artwork!

In the original artwork we're taking our inspiration from, the artist has written a short poem. Willie Marlowe called the series of work this was from "Visual Poetry". You might like to include a short poem of your own or just add in words that relate to how you are feeling or what is surrounding you at the moment.

Collection Connection: A Shrine to Stars

Willie Marlowe
1995, Mixed Media
Gift of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium, 2007.32.14




Published June 11, 2020