Writing + Art: Unknown Lands

Some books include a map at the beginning to help guide the reader around the imaginary world that the author has invented. These maps conjure up images of unknown places and promise adventures in extraordinary settings.

Richard Diebenkorn (American, 1922–1993)
Ocean Park No. 16, 1968
Oil on canvas
93 × 76 in. (236.22 × 193.04 cm)
Gift of Jane Bradley Pettit M1974.218
Photo credit: Diebenkorn Foundation
© Estate of Richard Diebenkorn

Now, it’s time to let your mind explore! Pick an abstract work of art that inspires your mind to wander in many directions.


As your eyes travel around the canvas or sculpture, let your thoughts meander. Follow them wherever they go.


Describe where your mind has been. Be honest; it is OK if your imagining doesn’t make any sense. Now draw a map of where your mind went. Add details to the map such as objects or places. Give your map labels and a name.


Show others your map. Do they have questions about it? You may find that you want to add more details to your map after your discussion.