Thursday, March 19, 2015

Faux Mexican 'bark' paintings!

My DragonWing Arts students this winter were working on globally inspired projects.  They learned about the Mexican bark paintings called 'papel amate'.  I showed them an authentic example, some samples I had made, and lots of photos of authentic work from Mexico. 

 To create the faux 'bark', students used brown Kraft paper, either from a paper bag or from a roll.  The edges were torn to make it look more irregular, and then the paper was crumbled up, dipped into a bucket of water, and squeezed out.
 Once the extra water was squeezed out, the students painted a wash of ink that had been thinned with water.  This brings out all the creases and wrinkles in the paper, and creates a nice look. 
 Then, when the 'bark' was dry, I flattened the papers with an iron and the kids drew on them with chalk.  They were told to draw lightly, so that it would be easy to rub out mistakes, but they actually were rather heavy-handed with the chalk.  We chose animals as our subject matter.
When the chalk drawings were complete, students painted with fluorescent tempera paints, and white.  I suggested decorative borders, as is often seen in the authentic papel amate, but only one student wanted to include a border.  Students used black ink to outline, using Q-tips instead of paintbrushes.  The black makes the colors pop.

I had just three students this winter, and since they are there mostly for a fun hands-on experience, I have had to adjust my expectations.  I always encourage and suggest, but ultimately let them make choices even if they aren't what I expected.
 The work above is by a fourth grade boy, and the piece at the top of the post is by a fourth grade girl who adores hummingbirds.  She is always very clear about what she wants to do, and follows through very carefully, while he tends to rush and is 'done' before I think he is.

My sweet 2nd grade boy decided he wanted to draw/paint a beaver, and after looking at lots of photos of beavers, the painting below is his work.  He was thrilled with the outcome and so am I, while I'm not so sure you would know that it is a beaver if I hadn't told you!
Below are samples that I have made, that I shared with the kids to give them a feel for the expected outcome.  The 4th grade boy really liked my lizards, which obviously inspired his.  I couldn't convince him to try something else, and I decided not to force the issue.
I painted the example below while the kids worked on their paintings.
Before I sign off, let me mention - for those of you who might be going to the NAEA convention in New Orleans next week, I invite you to come to my workshop titled "Design Your Art Program to Say YES to the Mess", at 8:00am on Friday!  It is filled with practical tips to make messy art easier to manage in a busy art program.

In addition, I am one of the presenters  in the Elementary Carousel on Blogging, also on Friday morning, at 11:00am.  My mini-presentation will focus on getting the most out of reading blogs. 

And finally, at 1:00pm on Friday, I will be at the AOE (Art of Education) booth in the vendor area, for a gathering of bloggers.  If you want to meet some of your favorite bloggers, stop and visit!  I look forward to meeting some of my readers! 

10 comments:

  1. Have fun at the conference, Phyl. Wish I were going!!!! By the way, have you seen Mary's latest post (on Marymaking)?? She tried your roof felting project with primary kids. (O'keeffe flowers) They are really terrific -- check it out.

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    1. Phyl - your post reminds me of the roof felt project you posted some time ago. I have experimented with this and the only trouble I have come across is that the acrylic paint tends to wash off when I put the roof felt in water to wash away the soap lines. I was wondering if you ever had an issue with this and if not - what type of acrylic paint do you use? I have tried this with the oil pastels and it works great but would also like to be able to use the acrylic paint successfully. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Heather Herbay

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    2. Christie - yes, I saw Mary's post. Fantastic!

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    3. Heather, sorry to hear you had a problem. I used a variety of brands of paint, including little bottles of craft acrylics, and some Blick student acrylics. I had a problem with one little bottle of white, and absolutely no problem with any others. I think you just have to use trial and error, I guess? What brand of acrylics did you use?

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  2. I have used a mix of what I have had on hand - Liquitex, Blick, Speedball, etc. I will experiment like you suggested. P.S. Have followed your blog quietly for several years - I came to teaching later in my life am in my 40's. My original undergrad is a BFA but six years ago I went back to get my teaching cert. I live in PA and there are not a lot of teaching jobs and when there are there are hundreds of applicants. I have gone on countless interviews and have had four long term substitute assignments but I have yet to have a classroom of my very own. You and many others inspire me and I continue to dream and work hard. I have been too shy to blog as sometimes I have a lot of great things to share when I have a long term assignment but then there are dry periods when I am subbing day to day. Wondered if I should just start to blog anyway - I feel like the shy kid on the sidelines who is afraid to get in the game. Thanks again, Phyl.

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    1. Heather, bloggers like me are just ordinary people, who choose to share with others. There's not really any rules, and you shouldn't be shy about it (because honestly, until you've really gotten your feet wet, nobody much will be reading it anyway!). It takes a while to establish your voice and get some blog readership, but it does create a lovely community (many of them ads silent readers, like you). It definitely doesn't happen overnight! Keep me posted!

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    2. Typo: It should read "many of them ARE silent readers".

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    3. Thanks Phyl : ) I have a blog already created - it's called Make the Whole World Your Canvas - I will keep you posted.

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  3. The lizards, which obviously inspired me to make one, loved the post ,thank you so much.

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