Programs - Visual Arts › Painting - Watercolour

Combining Maps and Art with Blair Thorson

Students will learn the history and use of maps as well as how to read them.  They will research the area for subject matter and use the maps as a canvas for their water colour artwork.
• The artist would like to meet with the school’s Social Studies and Arts class instructor(s) to develop a program that can introduce students to the history of paper mapping in Canada.
• Blair will cover how maps have been used in the past for orientation, navigation, forestry, mining, land use and hydrometric surveys; how aerial photography enabled the production of topographic, marine and aviation maps; and how to read and decipher map features, legends and scales. 
• Students will be shown how to use various maps as a canvas for water colour painting; how to make use of map features such as contour lines, water courses and roads in their paintings while stressing the need to research the subject matter being painted so as to be indicative of the area of that map.  How water colour adheres to different types of maps will also be discussed.
• Finally, the artist will explain and demonstrate preservation techniques for wall mounting with or without glass or frames.

Grade Suitability:


Maximum Class Size:

10-12 students

Time Required:

To be determined upon the mutual agreement of the artist and school instructor(s).

Material Required:

The school could provide the following materials (per student) • Water colour kits (standard 6 colors) • Water colour brushes (6 brushes ranging from ½” broad down to very find tip • Cloth rags to clean brushes • Pencils ( ie: HB, 2H, 2B) various hard and softness. • Soft eraser • Water bottle & three water vessels (ie: cups) Artist Requires: • A flip chart easel with a pad of 24” x 36” newsprint paper. • Small light table The artist will provide: • Maps (various types/parts & pieces as the maps the artist uses are not “new”, the “new” maps have a lacquer like finish that makes them difficult to draw and paint on).

Language of Instruction:





September 1 - October 10; November 1 – 17; January 1 - June 1

Special Notes:

An extended version of this program can be offered.

Blair M Thorson

Blair is a self-directed artist who took his formal art education in grade school. He received art awards in grades 9 and 12 and has only expanded with his artistic passion through experimentation and perseverance.

Blair has participated in a cartooning mentoring program where he worked with a young artist to help him learn to expand his artistic talents.  He has also taught many children’s cartooning classes over the years and has had positive responses.

Blair was an editorial cartoonist for several newspapers in Northern British Columbia over a period of six years and has published a collection of those cartoons in a book called Highway Humour.

Contact: 867-633-3991


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