Jaime Molina, The Family Garden, 2017. Wood, acrylic paint, hardware.

How to Talk About Art: The Family Garden

Jaime Molina, The Family Garden, 2017. Wood, acrylic paint, hardware.

A diorama triptych featuring cut outs of cacti and the night sky

Jaime Molina, The Family Garden, 2017. Wood, acrylic paint, hardware.

Talking about art can feel challenging if you haven’t practiced. Here are some tips!

  • Breaking artworks down into big ideas can help
  • Start by discussing what you see--don’t worry about meaning
  • Find ways to connect the art to your own experiences
  • Encourage inquiry, exploration and experimentation
  • Ask open-ended questions
Close-up detail on the eyes-closed face at the center of the sculpture

Local Understanding and Place

Jaime Molina, a Denver-based artist, created this sculpture by hand carving the wood and painting it with acrylic paints. His art practice is varied--Jaime also makes large scale public sculpture and paints murals, which can be seen throughout Denver. Molina is inspired by the beautiful Colorado landscape, a setting that he calls home. His imagination is a huge part of his artistic process. Instead of searching for references of images online, he prefers to create the images based off his own imaginative interpretation.

Molina says,

To me, it's the sky and the intense sun that really play a big part of my appreciation for Colorado. The clouds here are so dynamic... All day long they are changing and bursting overhead.

Use the guiding questions below to start a discussion about this artwork and our local landscape!

  • What do you notice about the sky in this sculpture?
  • What time of day do you think this is? What makes you say that?
  • Why might the figure’s eyes be closed?
  • Notice that there are hinges and this sculpture functions as a box. Why do you think the artist chose to create this landscape inside a box with a face painting on the outside?
  • What about our local landscape inspires you? What details from your neighborhood excite you?
  • Have you seen one of Jaime Molina’s murals or sculptures around Denver? Can you find one? How does the mural change the building?

Related Creative Activities

Child standing in front of large pink and orange abstract painting of Sweet Potatoes at the Table by Roberto Juarez, 1987
Creative Practice

Eye Spy

This version of the classic game, Eye Spy, focuses on a work of art. The goal is for children to become observers in art and use descriptive language to describe various components of the artwork.
Thomas Hudson, The Radcliffe Family, about 1742. 126 in. x 174 in. Long-term loan from the Berger Collection, TL-17968.
Creative Practice

Make a Pose!

Follow these steps to create a tableau, or "frozen picture," in your classroom or home! This is an effective tool for encouraging children to notice details, which is an important reading and pre-writing skill.
Kerry James Marshall, Better Homes, Better Gardens, 1994. Acrylic paint and paper collage on canvas. Funds from Polly and Mark Addison, the Alliance for Contemporary Art, Caroline Morgan, and Colorado Contemporary Collectors: Suzanne Farver, Linda and Ken
Creative Practice

Ten Times Two

This close-looking game can be used with any visual art object and will provide an opportunity for children to look into the detail of the artwork. This activity will reinforce math skills, build vocabulary, and introduce descriptive language.