Students will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by learning about the tradition of Mexican bark paintings. Students will create their own piece of Mexican bark art.
- 9x12 Brown Construction Paper
- World Map
- Bark Painting Examples
- Paint Brushes and Q-Tips
- Black Fine Point Sharpies
- On each table, place images of Mexican bark paintings as well as a world map. As students come in ask them to turn and talk for 2-3 minutes about the images on their table and where they think they came from, what they represent, and where in the world they were made(usually I give a highlighter to ask students to put a dot on the map of where we are, and where they think the art came from.).
- Spend 5 minutes hearing responses from each table.
- Share with students the information from the “Mexican Bark Paintings Information Page”. Be sure to show students where we are on the map, and where the paintings came from.
- Explain to students that today, they will begin their bark painting on a brown piece of paper. The first step is to wrinkle your paper so it has texture, just like the bark on trees.
- Ask students to begin drawing their bark art with a pencil. Remind students what most paintings were about, from the information sheet to encourage similar content/purpose.
- Circulate throughout the classroom emphasizing the way the Mexican artists used simple lines and shapes throughout their paintings.
- When students have finished their drawings, they will now fill in with paint. Remind students that many times Mexican artists left parts of the brown bark showing.
- When paintings are dry, students should use the black fine point sharpie to outline their painting and it’s content and use this for any final bold, simple details (ex. Stripes, dots, etc.)
- Ask students to compliment a peers’ artwork from their table.
- If time permits, allow students to share a peers’ artwork that they like.
- Ask students to write a brief 2-3 sentence summary of what their bark painting is about or what they have learned about Mexican artists from this project.
Mexican Bark Painting Information Page
Who Made The Paintings? Aztecs
Bark paintings were first created by the Aztecs as a form of their own picture writing called codices. This style is very much like the cave paintings found all over the world. Usually the women make the bark paper by peeling the bark from the tree, boiling it, then beating it with a rock or stone to flatten and make the paper solid. The Aztecs used natural objects and plants to create paint for the paintings.
What is usually shown in a bark painting?
Many bark paintings are used to shoe gods and rulers of the Aztecs. The paintings are also said to tell stories of battles and wars. The Aztecs usually used very basic shapes to create the figures or animals within their painting. They painted the images very simplistic using typically a solid, flat color. They then added a variety of lines, and shapes to create more detail for a more unique composition. Key features in the painting were usually outlined in black, and much of the brown color of the bark was left as the background color.
Where are we? Where did these bark paintings come from?