Carved Seascape Paintings

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

by Katsushika Hokusai (between 1823-1829)

(Photo from Wikipedia)

For our creative art lesson this week we learned about wood carving as a printing technique. Mr. Hokusai was a famous Japanese artist who carved many scenes into wood and then printed them off on paper using ink. Wherever you see white is a depression that has been cut from the wood. The ink is smeared over the rest of the wood to create these type of scenes.

Our goal was to try to see if we could make waves like his using Styrofoam sheets instead of wood.

May I humbly suggest that if you try this you have the vacuum very handy – as in “on” while you are “carving” the foam? 😉

To do this project, you need:

Styrofoam sheets cut to paper size

art tablecloth or newspapers to cover the table

big jars of poster paint

paint brushes

water color paper (or other heavy paper)

a rolling pin to smooth the paint onto the paper

Seascape Art Supplies

Here’s how we did it:

1. Every one got a sheet of foam that was about the size of the paper.

2. Using pencils and plastics knives, we carved waves or shapes.

(This was not as easy as it sounds since the balls that make up the foam aren’t all that easy to cut and the kids weren’t going to get sharp knives to play with.)

3. Vacuum all those balls up before they get everywhere.

4.  Brush the paint onto your carvings.

5. Gently place your paper over the paint – BE CAREFUL NOT TO MOVE THE PAPER!!

6. Smooth the paper gently with the rolling pin or your hand.

Almost finished seascape project

Notice JitterBug’s carving on the table.  In the back you can see HorseyBug smoothing her paper with her hand.

Here are the final results:

Seascape Art Project

 A fun bonus for us occurred the next week when we took JuneBug back to the eye doctor. We stopped in at the Springfield Art Museum and they have a great exhibit showing this type of art – step by step with the wood blocks to the finished product. Pretty cool!


2 thoughts on “Carved Seascape Paintings

  1. Mary Jo Rasmussen

    What fun — and to find an exhibit on top of that! It looks like you got some great results. It’s fun to see all the ‘Bugs’, too. = ) I did a wood cut once when I was in high school, I think I did an eagle,


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