Val Jenkins likes to transform space in her large-scale paintings, making familiar settings unfamiliar.

Using the five senses, write a descriptive paragraph about a place you know well.

Val’s describes her work as “representational abstraction.” While her paintings are photo-realistic—the image above is a zoomed-in view of corner of her glass terrarium collection—they tend to look abstract to a viewer.

Try making your own representational abstract painting of the place you wrote about above. Using a photograph for reference, zoom in on a single detail or corner to paint. Can you capture the written description of your work in a painting?

Bonus activity: try matching up your classmates’ written descriptions to their abstract paintings.