Because oil and water do not mix, a pan of water can become a unique, interactive canvass for a skilled artist.
Painting on water was a technique first developed in Asia centuries ago, taking on various styles as it spread across the globe. In Turkey, the art form, known as ebru, remains very popular today, according to a Wikipedia article that does a great job of recounting the history of the various styles.
Nothing can beat watching some amazing artists as they perform their magic. Several videos on YouTube allow us a close-up look. Unfortunately, many interesting videos include no describing information or even the identify of the artist. (If anyone has more details, please send them along.)
One of my favorite videos is an unidentified demonstration called “Painting on water; never seen like this ever!” It makes me believe that anyone can do some rudimentary water-painting, given the right instruction.
Another example comes from the Islamic Cultural Center in Doha, Qatar.
Like the video in the player above, a video called “Chinese Ink Painting on Water” uses multiple images that are stylistically created and quickly wiped out, as the water’s surface takes a new form. The artist is identified as Huang ZhuLin, born in Shandong Province.
A video of artist Garip Ay of the American Islamic College in Chicago is edited to show work on three water paintings in short interlaced clips.
Suminagashi, a Japanese method using ink upon water, apparently can be brought down to a child’s level and used as an art project. In fact, my granddaughter Mali told me she had done a project like this in elementary school. For instructions, see the website Inner Child Fun.