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Honoring Our Pets: Animal Rock Paintings

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Created by Maya Ankenbruck

Hello, I'm Maya Ankenbruck here on behalf of the South Haven Center for the Arts.

As we are focused on Frida Kahlo, I think it's important to mention her love of animals. She loved her various animals as children and owned macaws and parakeets, Bonito the parrot, a fawn named Granizo, spider monkeys, Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal, an eagle and hairless Xoloitzcuintli dogs with ancient Aztec lineage. These animals would often be shown in her paintings. They were her companions, her friends.

I would like all of you to think about your pets and possibly how you have become closer with them through this time of staying at home and staying safe. I personally have a box turtle named Mabel and I do feel like I know her routines and mannerisms better now. I would love to see pictures of your pets in quarantine, or an imaginary pet, or your stuffed animal that is your companion.

Materials Needed

  • A rock

  • Paint, probably acrylic paint or gouache because it dries quickly, or a good marker or a paint marker.

  • Paint brushes and a cup of water and a paper towel for cleaning

For this exercise we will be honoring our animals by creating art for them. You will need a rock. Some paint, probably acrylic paint or gouache because it dries quickly, or a good marker or a paint marker. You will need some paint brushes and a cup of water and a paper towel for cleaning.

I would like you to find your perfect rock, maybe go to Pilgrim Haven, the beach there is full of all kinds of rocks. Maybe find a rock that somewhat looks like the shape of your animal because we are going to paint our animals on our rocks. Haha! All rocks already remind me of turtles so I will have an easy time finding my rock. Once you have your rock you can set up your painting space, maybe put down a tarp or go outside. You may want to take a picture of your pet to draw from because they are usually moving around. You may want to draw out what you are going to paint before you do paint but it is up to you.

While creating or observing your pet think about, If you were to paint your pet, what would you add? What makes them, them, what symbols or items would you place around them, what do they like and dislike, who is your pet?

I got this idea from my neighbors who were painting rocks and giving them away or taking donations for the Al-Van Humane society. They did not paint their pets, but lovely nice sayings that could brighten a person's day. I noticed people would get their rock from my neighbor kids and place it around town. It was nice to see little painted rocks everywhere and especially by the Frida Kahlo Garden's because they fit in so well there. So yes, after you are done with your painted rock of your pet maybe you want to place it by a Frida Kahlo Garden. Maybe you want to put it in your front yard or set it in your pets favorite place. You can do what you want with your special rock honoring your beloved pet, it's yours. I would love to see all of your creations! Send photos to

Watch the DIY Tutorial Video!


Maya Simone Ankenbruck was the South Haven Center for the Arts' Intern for the summer 2020 season. This opportunity was made available by a grant from The Greater South Haven Area Community Foundation.

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