This is a spin-off from my recent project, Swimming Pool: Oil Pastel and Watercolour Resist, inspired by David Hockney (click here).
The idea came from a conversation with my three year old daughter, who was keen to have a go at the project I had done with Art Club that day.
She wanted to make an underwater picture, but said she’d like to draw a fairy (her favourite thing at the moment, apart from pink). I replied that I didn’t think fairies could swim because their wings would get soggy, and that was when the mermaid idea popped into my head!
Why didn’t I think of it before?! Mermaids are currently my daughter’s third favourite thing and, after this project, they may have actually overtaken fairies to take the no. 2 slot (pink, of course, remains at no. 1!).
The process is exactly the same as the Swimming Pool project, using the principle of oil pastel and watercolour resist.
Step 1: Draw a mermaid and some fish
Step 2: Colour carefully with oil pastels using skin tones and bright colours
Step 3: Create a shimmering two-tone effect by using two colours for the tail – applying the lightest colour first (pink) and then the darker colour (purple) over the top, before scratching a pattern of fish scales all over the tail.
Step 4: Load up a large paintbrush with turquoise watercolours and brush in horizontal strokes across the whole picture, watching how the oil pastels resist the water. Use a tissue to absorb and clean away any excess paint sitting on top of the oil pastel.
Step 5: This part is the most fun! Sprinkle salt over the surface, particularly where there are pools of water, and watch how it sucks up the liquid. When the picture is dry, gently rub off the salt to reveal a speckled texture which looks like bubbles in the water!
My daughter loved this project so much, she kept going until she had made four!