Know your Subject

4 Comments

Knowing your subject when painting | painting the ocean
I often think about an online class I took by Val Webb called “Drawing Children.” At the time, I was amazed at how well Val knows the nuances of the faces and figures of children. Now as I paint the ocean – almost exclusively, mostly in watercolor, but recently in acrylics – I think about not just the techniques to make the painting look realistic, but the characteristics of the ocean.

As I was painting the water, specifically the foam at high tide, I was painting and pulling back the strokes, because I was thinking about how the water is being pulled back by the tide. This is something you wouldn’t know just by looking at a photo. All the time I’ve spent at the beach might be making a difference in my painting. Last summer, after painting the ocean all winter, I looked and observed the water differently than before.

Work in progress where I was “pulling back”
Know your subject - painting the ocean

My son recently asked if I was going to paint anything else. I guess to him, every painting is similar. To me I’m learning with each painting. The ocean looks so different at different times and different angles. I’m sticking with the ocean, and I’m currently challenging myself by working to capture this amazing subject in acrylics.

Click here to view my collection of watercolor seascapes. Prints are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes.

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Author: Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Web and Print Designer living in New York. I blog about painting, illustration, and designing patterns. Inquires are welcome.

4 thoughts on “Know your Subject

  1. The all nuances of the ocean will give you an endless subject. I’ve enjoyed watching your progress.

  2. I love the simplicity of your subject. It really works well. Looking at your paintings gives me the same feeling of peace and wide open space that I get when visiting the ocean in person. Super job!

    • Thank you so much! Peace is such a good word to describe how the beach makes me feel. Everything about it – the smell of the ocean, the sounds of the waves and seagulls, the feel of the sun and breeze, and sand between my toes, and the visual openness of the ocean, and repetitive waves forming and crashing – factors into feeling at peace. 😀

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