What’s It Like To Paint Underwater?

Olga Painting on Thistlegorm Shipwreck, Egypt

Recently, I was on a liveaboard dedicated to scuba diving in the Red Sea. The ship offered underwater painting instruction by a talented dive instructor and underwater artist, Olga Nikitina.

Olga earned a degree in Interior Design from Ulyanovsk State University in 2006 and in 2008 she became a scuba diver. In 2015, Olga became a scuba diving instructor and relocated to Egypt.

Finding Inspiration in the Red Sea

It was in Egypt, Olga began to combine painting and scuba diving passions. Following the footprints of Andre Laban. Laban was an engineer on Jacques Cousteu‘s team and pioneered underwater painting and underwater photography. During his experiments, Laban was able test which paints are suitable for underwater and non-toxic for the environment.

Painting was always a big part of Olga’s life above water. And the Red Sea is a very unique body of water which hosts a wide variety of corals and marine life. Having such a diverse body of water in your backyard it easily provides the ability to find inspiration. Here’s a link to Olga’s Underwater Painting Gallery.

Underwater Painting Class

Olga continued to expand on Laban’s initial experiments and refined materials used and expand environmental concerns. In 2019, Olga created a PADI approved “Underwater Artist” distinctive speciality course. She now offer two options: Underwater Painting Introduction Dive and Underwater Artist certification.

Olga instructing one of her students

What’s the Class Like?

I didn’t take the class but I sort of audited the classes and documented with the photographs and video clips above and below. Classes were held in between dives onboard the ship.

During her classes, students first explore scuba diving considerations, common practices of underwater painting, materials, tools, weighting (so things don’t float away) and environmental concerns and care.

There is at least 2 dives included with the Underwater Artist Course plus about 3-4 hours out of the water dedicated to introduction, prep and post activities. The introduction dive is only 1 dive plus briefing (about an hour). As an observer, it was a lot of fun!

Highlighting Underwater Painter

If you would like to try something new, curious or expand your current painting skills, it’s worth while to check out Olga’s program when you’re in Egypt.

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