An Adaptation of Mexican Bark Paintings

Mexican Bark Painting of a Bird

Original Mexican bark paintings were created using the bark from mulberry or fig trees. Flat pieces were collected, washed and boiled, then beaten with stone until the fibers fused together. Known for their use of vibrant colors, artists used these bark canvases to paint scenes from everyday village life including flowers, birds, and other animals. Teach Kids Art, a blog featuring children's art lessons, shares a wonderful adaptation of these traditional Mexican bark paintings for your students to enjoy!
Supplies You'll Need
- Brown paper grocery bag
- Pencil
- Eraser
- Black permanent marker
- Washable markers
- White tempera paint
- Paintbrush (size 2)

Before beginning, cut each grocery bag apart to create a 12 x 14 'canvas' for each student. Providing some pictures of Mexican bark paintings for inspiration, instruct your students to draw animals, birds, and flowers with pencil incorporating decorative and 'fanciful' lines and shapes. These lines should then be traced with black permanent marker.

To re-create the texture of the traditional bark paper, have your students crinkle their canvas, smooth it flat, and then repeat until there is an even texture throughout. Leave under a book overnight to 'flatten' the paper and then use markers to color in the designs, adding small white dots of paint to objects to make them stand out. A great lesson in culture, use of different art mediums, and a fun classroom decoration!

TeachKidsArt: March 2010