Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PROJECT: Crayon Resist Petroglyph Art

Shortly after my book Stories in Stone: Rock Art Pictures by Early Americans was published, I visited a school and saw some wonderful art the students had made after reading the book.  After looking at the photographs of the petroglyphs each student wrote a haiku. Then, with pencil, the student drew the outline of one of the animals on a piece of white paper. Many of them drew bighorn sheep, one of the most common images in the Coso Mountains where the story takes place. The students filled in the shape of the animal with white crayon and then painted over it with brown watercolor paint. The white crayon resists the paint, making the image stand out from the darker background, just as the petroglyph designs in nature stand out from the darker rock around them.
When the paint was dry the picture was carefully torn around the edges to give it a rough-hewn look. I loved the art and haiku by Abby. What she wrote is a central theme of the book:
These petroglyphs show
ceremonial beliefs
that are clues to life.

Stories in Stone is out of print but you can look for it in your library.

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