An Art Activity for Discussing The Waves

This activity was originally created by Jim Reynolds.

Updated December 12, 2000
Created April 18, 1998

Virginia Woolf's The Waves is full of colorful visuals, and in its structure in how it deals with the perceptions of different character, is very much like a Cubist painting.

To understand one of cubism’s basic principles, get at least two other people to draw with you (more would be better).   Place an object in the center of the table. Draw a simple contour outline of it--it doesn't matter if it's realistic or not. The process of seeing it is what's important. Take about five to ten minutes for this activity.

Now exchange your drawing with the person opposite you, and switch seats with the person to the left of you. Draw the object again, over the drawing that's already on the page. Take about five minutes for this.

Repeat the above step and take about two minutes for this. Observe the drawings and discuss how this shifting of viewpoint is similar to Woolf's technique in The Waves.

What role does art play in Woolf's other works (e.g. Lily's painting in To The Lighthouse)?

Art images used in a discussion of Woolf, cubism, and modern art :

Bicycle Wheel (1913)

Klee: Red and White Domes (1914)

Le Bonheur de Vivre (1905-06)
Red Room in Harmony (1909)

Stella: Old Brooklyn Bridge (1914)

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