Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

There is a real benefit to painting the same subject over and over. You get better at it, you get faster. I noticed this the other day when I painted a complete beach scene from start to finish in one sitting. I had such a sense of accomplishment! Before this, I was still figuring things out. I often had several paintings going at once, adding details here and there and working on getting the water to look right. This time it was almost easy, I was stunned. How’d I do that? I realized I’d developed a process for painting the beach. I knew the steps to take to achieve a certain look. My Process for painting the beach:
  1. Colors  – mixes of blue, yellow, and red watercolors
  2. Use painter’s tape to achieve a straight horizon line
  3. Paint the ocean water closest to the horizon darker and bluer
  4. Water in the cresting wave is lighter and greener
  5. Water in front of the wave is a darker shade of the green
  6. Water gets browner – more red – closer to the shore
  7. Add white gouache for foam and spray. More foam closer to shore.
  8. A flat brush helps achieve the horizontal lines that make things appear flat.
  9. Sand is darkest closest to the water
  10. The foam of the breaking wave has shadows in it
  11. Sky is lighter closest to horizon
Easy Watercolor Seascape online video lesson for beginners The lesson is appropriate for all levels. Beginners should have a basic understanding of watercolor before trying this lesson. If you are completely new to watercolor sign up for my newsletter and get the “What you need to know to get started with watercolor” pdf for free! Other resources for complete beginners: Click here to order the Watercolor Seascape Painting Lesson. Give this process for painting the beach a try and let me know how it goes! I share my process in the pdf “Waterscape Seascape Painting Tutorial,” which you can download in my Etsy shop. Watercolor Seascape Tutorial Download Ready to get started in watercolor? The “Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide” is for you!
  • Learn the fundamentals.
  • Practice with exercises & projects.
  • Discover a love of watercolor!
Learn more here! Would you like to: Be creative on a regular basis and experience the joy that creativity brings? Explore mediums and subjects, in search of your thing? Learn about my new book Creative Exploration: A Six Week Process for Introducing Regular Creativity into your Life by clicking here. Creative Exploration book - Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here. creative newsletter featuring artists crafts tutorials books shows and more | creative inspirationBeginner Watercolor Painting Instructional PDF "What you need to know to get started with Watercolor" Beginner Printable Introduction Easy Starfish Watercolor Painting for Beginners | Learn Watercolor Techniques This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog! Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

Published by Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Watercolor Artist, seascape painter, collector of creative inspiration. Sign up for my newsletter! Want to learn watercolor? Visit:

12 thoughts on “Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

  1. Hello Eileen, I’m new to watercolor and I had never considered painting the same thing more than once. It’s like I didn’t know I could do that, as silly as that sounds. I can’t even begin to do waves – nowhere near that advanced but what I took away from your post is the realization that’s it’s ok to paint the same object more than once. This may seem like a no-brainer but I swear, this never occurred to me. Thank you! 🙂

    1. Carol, I know what you mean. I used to think that you had to draw something once and draw it perfectly. Then I started really using my sketchbook. I would draw the same object over and over filling a page. I think the more you draw or paint something, the more you see it, and can break down the components and draw or paint it more accurately. I once went to a museum exhibit of Seurat’s drawings. He did that famous pointillism painting of the people by the lake. He did many drawings and studies before he did that famous painting. I guess practice really makes perfect. 😀

      1. Thanks to your advice, I’m in the process of painting a forest scene that I had painted before months ago. I realized that I had forgotten how I did the leaves exactly and I couldn’t find that painting anywhere. So I just redid it – still doing it actually. Adding a park bench I think. So I think I’m going to go through my old ones and redo them. 🙂

  2. My sister, who lives by the beach, has asked me to paint her a picture to hang in her home! It’s been a while since I’ve painted, preferring to sew as my creative outlet. But your hints and wonderful website have me itching to try! Thank you for sharing your expertise with us!

  3. I love the tips for waves on the beach! I just finished a class and could have used these tips especially for the colors of the water . the teacher did tell us to tape the horizon… I will definitely do the painting again using these tips! Thank you!Denise

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