José Parlá For Younger Children

silhouette of mural

Amistad América


José Parlá

American, born 1973

Subject: Texture and pattern

Activity: Make a finger painting using unusual materials

Materials: Paper, paint palette or paper plates, tempera paint, paint-safe toys and scrap materials, plastic sheet, and tape

Vocabulary: Pattern, shape, texture


The artist who painted this mural is inspired by busy cities like Austin. He likes to watch the ashing lights, hear the honking horns, and see people as he explores the city. The artist used bright paints, torn papers, and sharp tools to create a mural as busy as Austin! 


Do you recognize any shapes in the mural?

What materials do you think the artist used?

What sort of tools did the artist use?

Do you see any patterns? 


Place a plastic sheet on a table, or sidewalk, to protect it from painted fingers! Pour pools of paint on a palette or paper plates. Tape down your sheet of paper so it does not slide around. Dip your fingers in the paint and smear it on the paper. Can you draw shapes with your fingers? Tap the paper with painted fingers to create texture. Smear the colors together to make a new shade. Can you make orange from yellow and red?

Need some inspiration?

Create different textures in your painting by using disposable or easily washable tools around your house: a paper towel roll wrapped with rubber bands; spoons or spatulas; Bubble Wrap; bath toys with spinning parts or wheels; or sequins.

Create designs with tape or large stickers on your clean paper. Finger paint over the tape. When the paint dries remove the tape to see your design!

For even more fun, finger paint on the outside of old boxes and build your own city full of art! 


Pattern - A repeating line, shape, or color

Space - A circle, square, triangle, or any other type of form

Texture - When something looks rough or smooth