Monday, March 21, 2016

Creating Amate Bark Paintings

by Joan Waites

Amate bark paintings are a beautiful type of folk art created by the Otomi Indians of Mexico. These paintings are done on paper made from brown and white bark. The art depicts various flowers, birds, reptiles, and other native animals and/or scenes from everyday life using beautiful patterns and vibrant colors.

Students can create their own Amate paintings using brown Kraft paper or cut up pieces of a brown paper bag to simulate the look of bark.

1. Cut paper into the desired size for the project. Students can create individual works or one large collaborative painting.

2. Crumple the paper into a tight ball. Carefully unwrap the paper and smooth it out using hands, a ruler, or if needed, have an adult iron the paper flat.

3. Using a pencil, have students lightly sketch out their designs. Go over pencil lines with a black Sharpie, oil pastel or crayon.

4. Fill in the designs, shapes, and scenes with bright tempera paint, acrylic paint, oil pastels or markers.

After the students have created their artwork, ask them to write a short folk tale featuring one or more of the animals or people featured in their paintings.

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