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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

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

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Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor


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Painting a Figure (Little Girl Digging – Part I)

girldigging
I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m excited about this painting! I started by mixing a grey base color for my sand. I mixed thalo blue, cadmium red, and cad. yellow (as opposed to using black and white) because I wanted the sand to have color in it. I’ve struggled before with painting sand! I covered the entire canvas in this color, even where the ocean and little girl will be.
sandbackground

I added little ticks on my canvas to show where the grid is.
grid on digging

I mixed cad. red and white and added some cad. yellow to get a flesh tone, which I mixed with my base color. I wanted a color that would work as a base for the little girl, that wasn’t far off from my original (sand) base color. This way, I won’t feel intimidated to loosely sketch in the girl. Hopefully, I’ll easily be able to change any area “back” to sand if necessary.
mixingskintone

Following the grid closely, I added in the shape of the little girl. I plan on flipping the canvas over and refining her shape (with the same color). As I start to feel confident in her shape, I’ll start adding colors that will define her and pull her out of the sand. I’m developing this process on the fly – wish me luck!