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Paint in English: Caveman Style

Wendy . Blog Published 02 December 2010

Imagine you are in a cave. You want to describe your world: leave a personal statement on the wall. NO, not on the wall---on brown paper! We don't know if primitive man painted because he was marking the moment or remembering the past or dreaming of the future. Our UEM LAB cave artists decided for him.
We started offering PAINT IN ENGLISH: Caveman Style in 2006 to non-art majors. Karla Villavicencio, a PhD candidate in architecture at the time, was the workshop leader. Since then Estefania Martín and Nieves Girón have helped keep the activity going, sharing their expertise.

Our cave artists not only had to paint like cavemen in 20 minutes, but had to discuss the painting process in English, of course. They asked for brushes and paint pots, offered material and suggestions, complimented each other on the work in progress. And yes, they were all very polite and courteous, well almost all -- No grunting or groaning, grabbing or pushing in this cave.

Cave iconography is limited to three basic themes: animals, human representations and signs. The first thing we notice in cave drawings are the animals. They reflect he fauna known to Paleolithic man. In Lascaux, France there are over 600 pictures of animals, the horse being predominant. There are many deer and bison at other sites. Occasionally man is depicted.

Have you ever been down, deep in the earth, in a dark, dark cave. Your guide turns off the lights. It's pitch black and silent. Then, a spot of light appears, illuminating a big bison or a hunter and his spear.....


Suggestions: Visit the Altamira Caves in Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, Spain if you possibly can. You need special permission now, but years ago I was lucky. I went twice, once on an exchange program from the University of California, and again on my own.

Recent information about Altamira: http://www.ocholeguas.com/2010/11/30/espana/1291118208.html

Look at the photos of PAINT IN ENGLISH: Caveman Style from 2006-2010. https://portal.uem.es/portal/page/portal/UEMLAB/PHOTO%20ALBUM


cave: cueva
leave: dejar atrás
statement: declaración
dreaming: soñando
offering: ofreciendo
caveman: cavernícola
majors: carreras universitarias
workshop leader: lider del taller
keep X going: continuar con ello
sharing: compartiendo
like: como
brushes: pinceles, cepillos
pots: botes, recipientes
each other: uno al otro
polite: bien educado
grunting: gruñiendo
groaning: lamentandose
grabbing: agarrando algo
pushing: empujando
drawings: dibujos
sites: lugares, excavaciones
deep: profundo
earth: tierra
pitch black: negro como el alquitrán
spot: punto

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Comments (2)
Mario (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

Great activity Wendy! But just one thing...that famous cave in France is called Lascaux. http://www.lascaux.culture.fr/

Anónimo (not verified)
5 February 2016 12:29 pm Reply

Thanks. You're right! It is Lascaux.

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