Emily Carr

Oil Pastel & Tempera Trees & Forests


Students will learn how to paint trees in the style of Canadian artist Emily Carr using oil pastel and tempera paint.


Students will learn about flowing lines and form suggesting the vastness of the West Coast in the way that Emily Carr viewed the world.

 About Emily Carr

From EmilyCarr.com

“Emily Carr is one of Canada’s greatest and most loved artists. Emily Carr was born on December 13th, 1871. She was the eighth of nine children and because it was the year BC joined confederation, she was the first of her family to be born Canadian. She was fiercely proud of that. Her childhood home is now owned by the people of British Columbia and is both a National and Provincial Historic Site. Emily Carr painted both the landscape and native villages of Western Canada in a unique and modern style that was rejected during its time of production.”

Emily was inspired by the Group of Seven!  After meeting them she incorporated movement into her paintings.


  • Paper (smaller will work fine, but larger makes a vast impression on the scale of the trees)
  • Pastels (black, or brown for outlining the trunk, branches etc. and blue for sky).  If they use blue for foliage and green for sky, that is just fine.  Let them experiment!
  • Tempera Paint (lots of green for foliage, brown for trunks and grounds, and blue for sky).  If they use blue for foliage and green for sky, that is just fine.  Let them experiment!
  • Paint brush’s
  • Pots for washing brushes between colours
  • Drop cloth for the floors and tables

 What You Do:

  1. Ask the children what words they think of when you say “Forest”?  How about ‘Forest beside the sea on a stormy day!’ or hot summer day or early spring evening?  They can close their eyes and tell you what they see.
  2. Show the Children Emily Carr’s paintings of trees. Go to http://www.emilycarr.com/
  3. Next, give each child a piece of paper.
  4. Ask the children to draw a trunk of a tree, “imagine you are a worm, looking up at the tree from the ground.  Remember our OiLs lessons and perspective drawings.  Make the trunk fat and the tree top thin.
  5. Now ask them to draw the foliage with the green paint.  (older children can outline in the oil pastel and fill in with the paint)

Helpful Resources

From: https://www.emilycarr.com/about-emily-carr/