Oil Pastel Art: Warm Sun and Cool Water

Coloring on black paper with oil pastels is an all-time favorite art activity in our house. If you don’t have oil pastels on hand, I highly recommend you pick up a box or two and then try this warm sun and cool water art project. The drawing and coloring is simple enough for preschoolers, but older kids and adults can have fun with this project, too!

Warm sun and cool water oil pastel art

You only need two basic art supplies for this project, black construction paper and oil pastels. There’s no prep required, so you can pull this project out for some spur-of-the-moment family art time. We have been happy with Crayola oil pastels – they are inexpensive ($4-$5 at craft stores or Amazon) with bright colors, and they last a long time.

With a white pastel, draw a horizon line across the paper. Add a half-circle sun sitting on the horizon and sunshine ray lines going from the sun to the edge of the paper.

Oil pastel sun drawing

Below the horizon line, use the white pastel to add wavy lines across the paper for the water.

Oil pastel sun and water drawing

Gather all the warm-color pastels – reds, oranges, and yellows. Color the sun and rays, trying not to color too much on the white lines. Shade in each section, and don’t worry about covering the black paper completely. For more detail and depth, experiment with layering the various pastel colors, too. My girls love to layer and mix the colors.

Warm color pastels for sun

When the sun is finished, collect all the cool-color pastels – greens, blues, and purples. Color the waves with a variety of cool colors, shading inside the white lines and trying some color layering.

Cool color pastels for water

Done! I love how the oil pastels pop on the black background. Pretty impressive results with two simple art supplies!

Beautiful oil pastel sun and water art project

For even more fun with oil pastels, try these projects, too:

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