SaskTel Art at Home: Eli Bornstein-Inspired Colour Magic

This activity is inspired by Saskatoon artist Eli Bornstein’s use of colour and light. In his three-dimensional works, Bornstein capitalizes on the way in which two colours side-by-side create the perception of a third colour, known as “optical mixing.” Changing light conditions also impact the colours our eyes perceive in this type of work.

Artist bio: Eli Bornstein is noted for his three-dimensional reliefs that explore the interactions of form and colour. Bornstein’s work — a style referred to as structurist — is a synthesis of painting and sculpture. His work Quadraplane Structurist Relief, No.15 II (2016-2017) was part of Remai Modern’s inaugural exhibition Field Guide and a selection of his work was shown at Remai Modern in the Artist in Focus series in 2019.

Bornstein served as Head of the Art Department at the University of Saskatchewan for 22 years, and taught at the university until his retirement in 1990. At 96, he maintains an active art practice in Saskatoon.

Supply list:

    • Coloured Paper (or white paper and makers, pencil crayons, etc.)
    • Ruler 
    • Pencil
    • Scissors
    • Glue stick
    • Light source (sun, lamp with strong lightbulb)


  • Cut different colours of paper into strips of the same width.
  • Glue the ends of two strips of different colours together, perpendicular to each other .
  • Beginning at the glued end, fold the strips over each other, repeating until you run out of paper.
  • Glue the strips together at the end and cut off any leftover paper. Repeat with different colours.
  • Move the paper chains of folded strips in direct strong light (natural light or from a light source in your home), and notice the illusion of new colours the light creates.
  • Glue separate paper chains together to create a longer chain. Play with the chain by gently moving and twisting it to create a sculpture. If you like the sculpture, glue the ends together.

Learn more:

Listen to artist Eli Bornstein talk about his work, Quadraplane Structurist Relief, No. 15 II.

A look at the home of Eli Bornstein via CBC

Eli Bornstein Exhibition Press Release - Remai Modern


Wednesday 10 AM - 5 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 5 PM
Friday 10 AM - 9 PM
Saturday & Sunday 10 AM-5 PM

Questions? email

102 Spadina Crescent East
Saskatoon SK S7K 0L3