my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design


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Capturing the Ocean in Watercolor

Painting the beach nd ocean in watercolor

I’ve aspired to capture the ocean in watercolor for years. In December I made “painting the beach” my New Year’s project. The snow was falling outside, but I was inside painting waves. With each painting I learned and improved.

Some of my firsts in early January.
Painting waves in watercolor

I watched a few YouTube videos and learned from others (and wrote about it here.)
14 tips on painting waves in watercolor

I tried new tools and supplies and incorporated them into my process.
Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

I’ve kept with it and over six months later I still often paint the ocean. In some ways I feel like I’ve found my thing.

Yesterday I was standing in the ocean, watching the waves break, watching the foam churned up by the waves wash in and out. It was surreal, like standing in a painting and all I could think about was white gouache.

Original beach watercolor landscape by Eileen McKenna

Have you read:
Six Ways to bring the Beach into your Home https://mycreativeresolution.com/2017/05/19/six-ways-to-brin…h-into-your-home/


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Parting with originals

Original beach watercolor landscape by Eileen McKenna
Yesterday I finished this painting. It went through an ugly stage and was at risk of being abandoned, but I recently picked it up again and continued to work at it. I really like the big border I left – made easy by using thick tape on the edges. As I was finishing it, I was thinking that I liked how it came out, but I wasn’t emotionally tied to it and would be able to part with the original.

Then I looked at it again and thought, nope I don’t want to part with this one! This seems to be a common occurance for me. I want to sell but don’t want to part with the originals. Recently I met with an art print company. They make giclee prints. These high quality prints seem to be the perfect compromise. I can sell but keep the originals.

I’ve been looking through my paintings to find a few favorites to start with. I’ll keep you posted. 😀

Have you seen the beach pin I had made from an illustration of mine? Perfect for your beach hat or bag! Click below to order one.
Beach Pin - 1" soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
Beach Pin – 1″ soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
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U.S. orders only.


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A Perfect Sunday

The start of a beach painting in watercolor
It was a beautiful spring day, really the perfect day. I went running, spent time with family, and lots of time outside. We barbecued and shared lots of laughs with the kids. And I started a new beach painting. 😀

Hope you enjoyed the day too!


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Stepping back from a painting

Beach watercolor by Eileen McKenna http://www.mycreativeresolution.com
I was so happy to have time this weekend to start AND finish a new beach painting. On Saturday I painted the first layers.
The start of a beach painting
On Sunday I added the details – more lights, more darks. I use a lot of white gouache!

I wasn’t sure it was done, but I propped the painting up on a shelf and looked at it from across the room. What a difference compared to staring at it up close. From across the room I declared, “It’s done.” 🙂

Have you read:
Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor


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Picking a blue for my next watercolor painting

Picking a blue for my next watercolor painting

Recently I created a little swatch guide for all the blue watercolor paints I’d accumulated. Today I used it to help me pick a blue for my ocean mix and a blue for the sky.

Want to learn more about my process for painting the beach? Click here.
 Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor


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Finished feels so good!

Watercolor beach painting

I’m thankful for today’s snow day and the break from everyday life. That and a few days of sketching figures gave me the push to finally finish this beach scene with the three girls playing in the surf. I’ve been afraid to finish this one – afraid of ruining it. As I sat down to work on it, I thought, “Done is better than unfinished, no matter what the result.” And the more I work on painting figures, and getting the shadows right, the more I’ll learn.

Stages:

I use watercolor pencils to draw the figures. Just wet the lines and it disappears!

This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you, whenever you buy using these links. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Tips and tools that prove invaluable

Watercolor beach painting
When I think about the progress I’ve made in the past two months, there are a few things that standout out to me. First watching videos of other artists painting waves gave me some great tips (which I wrote about here.)

Second, one of the artists was using a flat brush so I bought a couple to try. The smaller flat brush has become invaluable to me.

Lastly, when I started using white gouache for the foam of the waves it was a turning point.

img_2098

Read:
14 tips on painting waves in watercolor
 Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor


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Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor

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

Give this process for painting the beach a try and let me know how it goes!

Have you seen the beach pin I designed?
Read about the inspiration behind the pin and the process here.
Beach Pin – 1″ soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
Beach Pin - 1" soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

U.S. orders only.

Have you read:
Six Ways to bring the Beach into your Home https://mycreativeresolution.com/2017/05/19/six-ways-to-brin…h-into-your-home/ 14tipswaves Easy Acrylic Beach Painting anyone can make! 11 Art Supplies I can't paint without 19 Books for Creatives Easy steps to paint a sunset sky and a tree in acrylic paints
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!


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Beach Heart

Beach Heart paintingPainting this beach heart was as peaceful and relaxing as sitting on the beach itself. Before I sat down to paint I was looking through my work for something to post on Valentine’s Day. I usually don’t post things from my archives – not that there is anything wrong with that. It just sometimes feels disjointed from what I’ve been working on.

With Valentine’s Day and hearts on my mind, I sat down to paint and thought of a beach scene in the shape of a heart. I think practicing, and working out a process for painting the beach, was a great help in painting the heart from start to finish in one sitting. Ah the sense of accomplishment!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

14 tips on painting waves in watercolor