Art of the Sea

Although I am a huge advocate for exploring your immediate environment–and establishing a connection to the world around you– there is something to be said for exploring new and vastly different environments. This summer I had the opportunity to explore the island of Kauai. This beautiful island offered such a wonderland of exploration opportunities! The north side of the island is so verdant, bursting with lush vegetation, waterfalls, beaches, and more! There were times I felt as though I were walking through a rainforest. The other side of the island offers just as much beauty, but in a slightly more dry climate. On this side of the island, I explored the incredible COLORS and sounds (roosters!) of Waimea Canyon–as well as the incredible red dirt found in this area (which is used as a powerful dye). For an artful exploration, I decided to paint with this red dirt. Here is the result of my painting, subject matter inspired by some of the woodblock prints I saw while on the island:

Island Sun

Another incredible artful exploration came from my visit to Sea Glass Beach. I must say I am quite jealous of my friends and fellow bloggers who have regular access to a beach! There are so many incredible treasures that wash up on the shore… As its name implies, Sea Glass Beach is known for the incredible sea glass that washes up on its shore! I spent quite a bit of time walking along the shore and exploring the variety of shapes, colors, and textures of the sea glass–nature’s incredible way of recycling. I am in awe of the beauty that can be created from our trash.

Sea Glass

After returning from my trip, I was intrigued to learn more about sea glass and the ways that artists have used it. For those of you unfamiliar with sea glass, it can be created both naturally and artificially. Naturally, sea glass begins as broken shards of glass. The pieces are then repeatedly tumbled and grounded until the sharp edges have been made smooth and rounded. This creates a natural frosted glass appearance. The artificial methods aren’t nearly as lovely–as is the case with practically anything manmade vs. natural, and involve either a rock tumbler or dipping glass in acid.

As for sea glass artists, there are some incredible artists out there, doing gorgeous things with sea glass. Here are a few that I particularly enjoyed:

Asta Sukiene makes beautiful wearable art, combining sea glass and crochet! Many of her pieces remind me of coral—very connected to the origin of sea glass 🙂

Evelyn Ward de Roo creates some incredible mixed media works, incorporating sea glass into many of her creations. Here’s one of my favorites!

Jonathan Fuller explores the spectrum of colors of sea glass in his sculptural creations.

Enjoy exploring these artists and their work! ‘Til later…happy explorations!

Dirt Art!

This is slightly off topic, although still deals with making art from natural materials (dirt). Artist Scott Wade creates amazing paintings using brushes, water, and a dirty car window. Check out his website to see more of his awesome work!

This puts a whole new spin on the “dirt painting” lessons, in which students paint with different colors of mud. Side note: There is also a wonderful book, titled “Dig Your Hands in the Dirt: A manual For Making Art Out of The Earth” that talks about creating amazing murals using certain types of dirt and clay. I highly suggest reading this book for additional Dirt Art ideas!

But, back to Scott Wade’s works–his paintings could very easily be adapted to a classroom lesson!

Check this out:



Small glass objects (These could range from donated recycled picture frames (which would work great for this project) to glasses)

Spray bottle

Paint brushes

Dark Colored Paper (black, blue, red?)



1. Mix a very watered down mud mixture in spray bottles.

2. Spray the glass object with mud mixture. Be sure to cover entire surface.

3. Let dry.

4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 two or three times.

5. Sketch idea for painting on a separate sheet of paper.

6. Place colored paper on the back side of your dirt canvas–so the color shoes through once you begin removing dirt.

6. Using brushes of your choosing, begin creating the darker areas of your painting by removing the dirt with your paint brush and water. Leave the dirt on the areas that are lighter. (Could practice this process before starting on the real “canvas.”

7. One finished, spray with fixative and allow to dry.

You can tweak this lesson as you see fit–or come up with a lesson plan of your own to share! Happy painting 🙂