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Mexican Amate Painting

Make Mexican Amate paintings - This was the last day of art class for the teenagers/seniors combined class. I wanted to end the class with a POW. I have been wanting to do Mexican “Amate” Paintings and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. “Amate” is the name of a paper that the natives of Mexico made to paint on. They would create this paper from the bark of the fig tree. It was then burned as a sacrifice to the gods. Today the paper continues to be used for religious as well as for commercial purposes. Click this link to learn more I explained to the class the history of the paper and then showed some examples of the art form. I gave them brown paper and had them tear it on all sides to resemble the ragged edge of the “Amate” paper. We then drew our designs in chalk. I asked them to identify some of the characteristics of the “Amate” paintings. They noticed the black outline, the bright colors, the simple shapes and the use of white. They also noticed that a lot of the natural color of the paper was left untouched. The room was a- buzz with activity as the teens and seniors began to create their Mexican inspired paintings. I was amazed at the students ability to design without any formal training in composition. When the paintings were complete, I instructed them to crumple the paintings in a ball and then iron them out with their hands. This would imitate the rustic look of the traditional “Amate” paper. They didn’t want to do that, so we left them smooth. This turned out to be my favorite project of the year. Below are their creations.


Brown craft paper 12" x 12" torn edges

Fluorescent acrylic paint, black and white for accents

Brush with nice point





Tear brown craft paper to appox. 12" x 12" square for a rough edge

Make designs with chalk

Paint designs leaving some brown paper showing

finish with white accents and outline with black

Student Work-

Mexican Amate Lesson

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  • Kim Weissenborn Artist
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©2017 Watercolor painting in Vero Kim Weissenborn - Florida