We started the session by looking at an iconic work of art – Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures), 1972 – by the contemporary British painter David Hockney (b.1937). In the painting a man looks into a swimming pool where another man is swimming under the water.
We talked about how the swimmer’s body looks a little distorted because of the waves on the surface of the pool, and I pointed out the pattern of white lines on the bottom of the pool where the sunlight is reflecting on and through the water. We also looked at some photographs of people swimming to get some ideas for how to pose our own swimmers.
The children drew in pencil and then coloured in their swimmers with oil pastels. Then they used white oil pastel to ‘invisibly’ draw wiggly lines all over the rest of the paper.
The next stage was to add the turquoise watercolour, brushing left and right across the paper using a big decorator’s paint brush. The oil pastels ‘resist’ the watercolours, revealing the white lines and creating a bubbly effect in other places.
Finally, the children sprinkled a little salt onto the wet surface.
When the pictures were dry we brushed off the salt to reveal a wonderful speckled texture in the paint.
Here are the finished artworks.
A spin-off from this project may be seen by clicking here: Mermaids under the Sea: Oil Pastels and Watercolours (September 2014)