The Wisdom of Animals: Capture it in Art

Note: I have been the craft columnist for New Mexico Kids magazine since 2003! This is a column I wrote in 2009. In honor of dear friends who have recently lost their animal companions, I share this with all of you.  

Look for updates on Unwind Studio’s Art Parties coming soon!!! Come and create with me! I have lots to share and I can guide you through the process. No experience required! Really! –Judith Costello 

cat effectsbanner stencil art Animal Silhouette The craft activity for this month is to surround ourselves with animal images and animal wisdom. First we’ll make stencils and then use them as room decorations and mobiles. You can also write on the artwork little reminders about the lessons that come from animals.

Animals are God’s beautiful creatures. They often remind us of things we forget…I think that’s why they are here. Some of the qualities of our animal friends are listed here:

  • Cats see through the dark. They are independent and tough, yet cuddly. They represent overcoming hardship.
  • Eagles are our national symbol. In the majestic way they soar, eagles remind us to dream. Let your spirit rise!!!
  • Chickens are not really “chicken.” They live in flocks, protect their young, and maintain a sense of order. Chickens represent family life.
  • Horses are powerful and graceful. They represent a balance of work and play.
  • Dogs are loyal and courageous. They remind us to be people of integrity.

In this stencil activity you can enlarge the samples here or draw your own animal silhouettes onto cardstock. Then cut out the animal using a sharp blade. Stencil artwork uses both pieces—the sheet with the hole in it and the animal cutout. Try a practice round first to plan a pattern repeating animal shapes. Then try this:

1)  Make a banner to hang in a child’s room or on a doorway. Line the stencil up and tape it to a piece of fabric. Use crayons and make strokes going from the cardboard into the hole about one inch depending on size. Make strokes parallel. Use different colors. Keep going all around the shape. When you lift the stencil the animal will be there! Use a sponge with paint on it to dab color on the inside of the animal. Repeat using different colors.

2)  On the same banner, try using the reverse image as well. Place the cardstock of the animal, rather than the sheet with the hole in it, on the fabric. Now use your strokes of crayon, going from the inside of the animal out to the fabric. This can make it look like the animal is radiating light! Again use paint or marker lines to complete the image.

3)  After the banner is filled with animals, write inspirational words flowing between the images. (See illustrations.)

4) Now you can use the animal cutouts to make mobiles. Use three to four cutouts of the same animal, putting one on top of the other. Glue them together to make a pad. . Make them colorful on both sides using crayon and paint. After they are dry, poke holes in the top, add string and hang them from the ceiling near your banner.

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