Deepsea Oceanscapes (Art + Books Series)

Have you ever wondered what to do with white paint or black paper?

These are both sadly neglected most of the time, but they're actually great buddies when they get to hang out together!

painting on black paper

This week's art project is an undersea oceanscape, focused on painting the deep ocean where very little sunlight reaches.

I recommend Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere, by Barb Rosenstock and Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin by Michelle Cusolito to read along with this project. They're both fascinating stories about explorers discovering the ocean depths.

two books about exploring the ocean

Painting the deep sea floor:

Like last week's playdough stamps, this project uses finger paints, plus playdough to create the textures.

Supplies: old playdough scraps (or pieces of sponge), dark-colored paper, finger paints.

I started my picture with white paint and a thin log of playdough. I used the playdough to dot in a mass of plants on one side of the paper. Then I used the same piece of playdough, rubbing slightly on the opposite side of the paper to create a softer texture.

Once I was happy with the white layer, I mixed a couple other colors in with the white and went back over the other plants to add some color, and even added more shapes using just the tips of my fingers to dot the paper.

white paint on black paper

To add jellyfish, roll a small piece of playdough into a ball and flatten it slightly. Then use that to dab the white paint lightly onto the paper. Be sure to keep the paint very light! Jellyfish are translucent, so you want to see the paper's color through the paint.

Finally, stretch a piece of playdough out into a thinner shape and smudge the lower edge of the jellyfish to create their tentacles.

Finish up with any other details that you'd like to add!

And if you are interested in more ocean-themed picture books, check out my reading list for this month!

picture books and art projects

UPDATE 8/31/20: 

I'm currently getting ready to publishing my own ocean-themed book - an activity book focused on marine invertebrates. It will focus on more than 30 ocean animals with coloring pages and activities like the one in this post. Be sure to check it out on Kickstarter while it's available for pre-orders!