Mural-Sized Moving Pictures

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Moving pictures are a beautiful way to illustrate the action of a story or verse.  Some resources, such as this little book from Bob and Nancy’s, “Making Picture Books With Moving Figures”  (  talk about drawing these pictures, but I like to wet on wet paint them.  One afternoon last week, I made these two scenes out of 9 pieces of watercolor paper (seven for the scenery,  plus two small pieces to make puppets of the boat, one Peter puppet and two puppets of Jesus) for a program at our church. 


The small child needs to see these beautiful, flexible, yet concrete manifestations of the story.  The older child does not need these props as much as they are creating the images in their own minds, but they do appreciate the beauty of the pictures and the  first through fourth graders enjoyed this.  The third and fourth graders helped work the moving pictures, but in all other cases the helpers were adults or teenagers (who also seemed to really enjoy themselves!).  My toddler and I helped co-teach 160 children from ages 3 years old through fourth grade this week with the help of these mural- sized moving pictures a story from The Gospel Of Matthew..



This was made from lemon yellow, crimson red because it is what I had, and cobalt blue.  The paper was soaked in a clean bathtub and carried dripping wet to the table where I painted.  I did not  wipe the paper off but left it very wet.  The first panel to the left (which you can see in the first photograph but not above) was done entirely in blue with touches of red and yellow.  The second panel was the same with a hint of lemon yellow at the upper corner.  The third panel was blue on the bottom with lemon yellow on top with the reeds formed from the blue pond with red and yellow and the mountain formed with blue extending over the lemon yellow and a hint of red.  The last piece of paper was the mountain, formed in the same way.  Slits were then cut in the paper so the puppet figures (on painted wooden popsicle sticks) could be inserted into the paper and move.  The boat started near shore and could move over, and Jesus started at the bottom of the mountain and moved up to the top.  IMG_8312



This is the second piece we used to illustrate our Gospel Lesson.  It was made entirely in blue with just touches of red and yellow made by dripping spots of paint off the brush and then blending it all together.  The boat does not move, only Peter in the boat moves and Jesus on the water moves.  The boat was made by bringing in yellow and red, and then I  Iifted off paint in order to make the disciples in the boat.  The disciples are varying brushstokes of colors I mixed on the paper with yellow, red and blue.  The  skin color  of the disciples’ faces were made by mixing yellow and red on the side of my painting board with some water until I got the shade I wanted.




Again, these were fairly simple and made in one afternoon.  I encourage you to explore these ways of presenting stories and verses to children as they can be made small or large. 


Many blessings,


8 thoughts on “Mural-Sized Moving Pictures

  1. AWESOME!!! You are a talented painter, too! Thanks so much for showing pictures and sharing this wonderful idea.

  2. Hi Carrie,

    Do you do Godly Play at your church? And was this painting lesson in conjunction with that or with some other curriculum? It’s so lovely and such a great idea. I’m just learning wet-on-wet watercolor and really enjoy it. Hopefully we can bring it into our routine at home soon.

    Thank you so much for all your great ideas on this blog! Often you say just what I need to hear.

    Blessings, Jessica

    • Hi Jesica,
      This was something that just came to me to illustrate a Gospel Lesson for Vacation Bible School. I am sure you could use it to illustrate a Godly Play lesson, although all those sweet wooden figures that usually go with Godly Play are lovely as well, of course.
      Hope that helps.
      Many blessings,

  3. Brilliant idea! Now why didn’t you do this a few years ago, before I created our second and third grade currics so I could have included this idea?!! I have included ideas for moving pictures in various places in my curriculum….and for murals in others….but I never thought to put this together! Great!

    And it’s great how specific your instructions are. People can-get so intimidated by wet-on-wet. You make it seem like it’s no fuss at all!

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