Teaching Materials - Exercise

The magic of water

Name of Artist Educator: Enoch Cheung
Excercise Category: Visual storytelling

This exercise explores the way to create abstract images with light and water.

Concept / Inspiration:

Add a drop of colour into a transparent pot of water, and it will disperse and form amazing patterns, until the water is saturated with the colour pigment. If the colour added is heavier than the water, it will sink to the bottom; if it is lighter, then it will float on the top. As both the container and water are transparent, what kind of effects or images can we create if we project light from different angles and positions? During the workshop, students can make use of daily life objects to achieve distinctive visual effects. This exercise explores the way to create abstract images with light and water.


  1. To create fascinating abstract images with the help of simple objects
  2. To encourage students to explore different materials and discover themes that interest them

Materials / Equipment:

  • Fishbowls
  • Water
  • Water-soluble colours
  • Droppers
  • Torches
  • Dark coloured paper


Indoors, somewhere with a water tap

Workshop Description:

How to create a magical scene in water:

  1. Fill a fishbowl with water. Put a piece of dark coloured paper underneath if necessary.
  2. Use a dropper to add diluted water-soluble colours (such as watercolour or poster colour) to the water. Let the colours disperse and diffuse.
  3. Students can help illuminate the fishbowl from the side with a torch to create fascinating refraction effects.
  4. Capture the movement of the colour pigments to create abstract photographic images.


Actual Outcome:

Some students made use of other things such as their own drawings to create a story.


Artworks by Kwok Ka Kwan
kwok_ka_kwan_20140523_001 kwok_ka_kwan_20140523_002 kwok_ka_kwan_20140523_003



Artwork by Loo Shuk Ping

Student Feedback:

“I let my drawings and the dyed water overlap to create interesting images!”