Searching for Texas Animals

In attempting to complete both archival work and schooling a first grader while also caring for a toddler (Hi toddler parents, I see you!!)….I figured I might as well experiment with using Bywaters Special Collections digital images with the K-12 crowd (i.e. my 7-year-old son). I quickly deduced that our online digital collections, while amazing for older kids and adults, are not easily browsable or readable for early readers. Instead, I’ll be searching and selecting specific images to showcase.

My first idea is to use images of animals from the DeForrest Judd sketchbooks for a lesson on native Texas animals. For our activity we’ll walk around our neighborhood to look for animals. Assignment is to draw an animal that we saw on our walk.

Thank goodness for a warm sunny day to complete this activity. The three of us took a long walk and saw birds, squirrels, dogs, tadpoles, butterflies, daddy long legs, yellow jackets (!), hawks, and cats and talked about the armadillos, deer, coyotes, bobcats, skunks and rabbits that we’ve seen before. After some lunch and nap time for little sister, my son drew a picture of Texas animals (including a couple we didn’t see on our walk- like beavers and a fawn).

The heart of the Texas Regionalism movement in the 1930s was creating art based on your local surroundings. As we shelter-in-place here in the Dallas area in 2020, I think we can all take this to heart and appreciate the beauty of our immediate surroundings – and attempt to teach and share that appreciation with others.

Image: Untitled by DeForrest Judd, watercolor and ink on paper

Blog post: Emily Grubbs
Courtesy of DeForrest Judd Artwork and Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

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