- May 3, 2012

Painting Peacocks at Mayfield Park


Austin has many pretty places, but no doubt, one of the prettiest is Mayfield Nature Preserve. If you’ve never been there, this time of year (Spring) is a wonderful time to visit. It is mating season for the peacocks; so you get to see them fanning their tails and strutting about. Nests of eggs can be found all over the grounds, and you may even get to see some chicks who will start hatching soon. 

My kids and I have been there many times, but we thought we would go today with a new purpose. We decided to paint the peacocks (pictures of them, that is. I apparently forgot to explain this distinction to my four-year-old who envisioned herself painting the peacocks with glorious new colors).

To make our painting expedition easier, we created homemade paint-with-water trays.

For each tray, we taped a piece of watercolor paper to a picture frame (you could also use a cookie sheet or anything flat and hard). At the bottom of the page I made large dark circles of “peacock colors” with watercolor pencils. (If you don’t have watercolor pencils, you can do the same thing with tubes of watercolor paint). I taped a pencil for sketching and a paintbrush on the side of the frame, and we were ready to go!

No need to bring water for the paint because the grounds of Mayfield Nature Preserve are filled with lily pad ponds for dipping the brushes (the watercolors are non-toxic).

It was one of the most relaxing things I’ve done in a long time to sit next to the lily pads and paint peacocks with my children. The girls loved running up to the peacocks to notice new details and then back to their canvases to paint them. 

If you go to the park to paint with your kids, you may find that you are not the only artists there. When we arrived we came upon an older gentleman masterfully painting the cottage with oils. I was sad to see that he was just packing up his things to leave; I think my girls would have found his presence there inspiring!

Katey uses her kids as an excuse to do all kinds of fun, creative, and free things. She keeps track of them all at her blog Having Fun at Home.