Spanish Bark Painting

Want to learn more about Spanish bark painting? Read on for facts and info on this historic art form and learn how you can re-create your own Spanish bark paintings…

Spanish bark painting is a unique form of art that has very long history. This kind of artwork is characterized by colorful village scenes and designs inspired by nature, wildlife and birds in particular. The artists would make use of a specially produced bark paper which was made using thin strips of bark acquired from the fig or Mulberry tree. This paper was popularly known as amate.

The kind of bark paper created by different trees generated different effects. For example Mulberry trees produced a paper that was off-white in color. On the other hand the paper developed using the fig tree was a lot darker. The process of creating the canvas for this art form requires washing and boiling the bark and laying it out in a crisscross pattern on a wooden surface. Papermakers would then beat the barks with a stone hammer which would cause the fibers to fuse together and form bark paper.

This historical art form is still practiced in many different regions of the world. This is because as the Spanish spread out into various regions they influenced the residents of those regions who picked up the art form. Spanish bark painting is particularly popular in Mexico. While many artists still stick to the traditional method of making handmade bark paper others opt for ready-made materials that are now easily available in the market.

How To Re-Create a Spanish Bark Painting

Bark painting has a specific set of supplies that are required to practice the art form. Along with the paper you will need white chalk, India ink, black sharpie felt marker, fluorescent colored craft paints, paintbrushes, foam paint brush, shallow bowl for ink wash and newspaper for drying the excess ink. If you want to copy an already existing Spanish bark painting then you will need to have an image of that painting in your possession to proceed with the exercise.

The process begins with preparing the paper. You will have to tear its edges so that it looks like authentic handmade paper. You can also crumple it up and flatten it again so that it develops an authentic look. Next you will have to prepare the India ink by mixing it with water in a shallow bowl. You need to give your paper a coating of India ink using a foam brush. Following this it should be allowed to dry.

Next you can make use of the chalk to create a sketch of the design that you have in mind. After that, use the colors of your choice to paint your design. It is better to start off with lighter colors and darken them as you proceed. Once the design has been painted you need to make use of the sharpie black felt marker to give your design an outline so as to give it the characteristic Spanish bark painting look.


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