Inquiry Focus

Negative-Space Fish Art

Audrey Mabee introduced a new art project when she volunteered at the end of February. We called it Negative-Space Fish Art. We made fish by focussing on the negative space first. To begin, Audrey talked about the variety of shapes that are part of fish. Some are big, some small; some have huge tails, some tiny ones. With this in mind, we prepared to begin the painting.


Audrey demonstrated the fish art to the entire class and we observed closely.


The first step is to paint the negative space (the space AROUND the fish) with water. Yup, just water! Then you "drop" paint--all colours, onto the wet paper. This style is called Wet-on-Wet painting. Doing this allows the paint to move easily all around the painting, sometimes with the help of the artist tipping the paper to encourage travel.

This painting shows the negative space of the fish.

Now you need to let your painting dry before you begin to paint the fish. If you don't let it dry first, the fish paint will travel off the fish body and into the water. This is a very important step.

Now is time to add details to your fish. It is preferable to leave some white spaces on the fish for contrast to the water as it will add interest to the work. Children were encouraged to be creative and make lines that spoke to them. Each fish is unique.




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