Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Salt Painting Koi Fish

My FAVORITE lesson of all time!!!!  I just adore salt painting.  The texture, the unexpected element of surprise, the "how did you do that" from fellow teachers, the "WOW!" from my students.  And, to top it all off, ALL of my students were enthralled with this lesson to the point that they gave their 100% effort (and we all know that doesn't happen with every lesson).

Of course, I went into the symbolic meaning of koi fish to the Japanese culture.  We discussed where one could find koi fish in the STL area.  Some have never seen them, while others have, etc.

Next, I showed them this video I found on You Tube which is a time lapse painting of a professional artist Lori Andrews (not as important as the process she goes through).  While there are some words in the video geared toward the 'seasoned artist' I breezed through them explaining some different types of resists that artists can use while painting.  I really liked the music in this video and the simple fact that it is geared for adults (which I told my students and I think that made them try even harder).  Here's the video:

After drawing the fish swimming in different directions on our paper (to create movement and to add a sense of life to the work), we used white crayons to draw ripples in the water that will show up after we add the paint.  I showed them how to paint a 4x4 area at a time so the paint will still be wet to add the salt.  It takes awhile for the salt to totally dissolve, but after about 5-10 minutes the students start to see the interesting textural effect the salt leaves in the watercolor.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I used my new liquid watercolors again - which I TOTALLY LOVE and highly recommend!

Here are some of our results:


  1. Just found your blog and love it! I put it on my blog lost on my art blog. Your students do a beautiful job! :)

  2. Love the vivid colors of the fish and the effect of the salt on watercolors. Beautiful work!

  3. What did you use to draw the fish?