Learn how to paint space with watercolours in a simple way and fun way that would appeal to children. This technique includes the use of pipettes, which is always a hit in our house!
Space. Nebulas. Spaceships. Aliens. Distant planets. All seem suddenly close to our house right now since my son is going through the infatuation with what might be happening in galaxies far away. While his dad is trying diligently to fill his head with some useful information on the subject by following NASA news, we still more often than not wander into t imaginary play and paint new worlds, construct spaceships with blocks and land onto new planets which at most other times act as our beds and pillows.
After creating a lot of space paintings with acrylics, we naturally got curious about different media. Watercolours are much less controllable, but therefore a lot of fun for young children to make art with. Even if they just smear paint around and add some salt, it will still look good. We know because we’ve been doing it since my son was a toddler!
There are obviously many ways to paint space. That’s usually the case with art, or it would be no fun. This is just one technique I tried with my four-year-old son that he found fun and accessible.
Step # 1: Choose a Limited Palette
We used liquid watercolours for our project. They’re vibrant and easy to use with pipettes. If you have watercolour pans, you might want to premix them with water. You will definitely need as many shades of violet, blue and magenta as you have. but be careful with adding other colours. A bit of minty green might be nice. My son is very fond of golden since we got it, and a little of that paint looks interesting. But for little artists, I would recommend excluding the rest of the palette for the project.
Step # 2: Drip Paint
Using a transfer pipette, drip paint all over the piece of watercolour paper. Let some drops mix as they fall on the piece of paper. Be spontaneous and have fun. Kids seem to do this step just perfectly.
Step # 3: Do a Wash
Using a wide brush and some water, do a quick wash over the sheet of paper. It’s important to use watercolour paper for this project because drawing paper would tear or wrinkle during this step. It’s lovely to see different colours flowing into each other and mixing randomly.
Step # 4: Sprinkle with Coarse Salt
Do it sparingly so that grains of salt will look like nebulae or clusters of galaxies.
Step # 5: Sprinkle White on Top
After the washes have completely dried, shake the remains of salt off and take white paint (white gouache/tempera/acrylic) and dilute it with water. Then take a brush and something to tap it against – an old wooden block, another brush or a pencil, anything. Flick the brush against the other object, and it will splatter little white dots everywhere. Watch the video below for a demonstration of the process.
And this is how it looks when finished!
Watch the Video
Watercolour Space Paintings
Alright, I admit that right now we have about twenty of these paintings… Here are a few more of my favourites.