Preoccupied with other things, I didn’t sit down to paint much this week. So, it feels particularly good to make some progress on this painting today. This painting has been hanging around for a few weeks. It was definitely at risk of going into the scrap pile. But I try to give each one a chance. I know from experience that even the worst beginnings, can surprise you in the end.
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.
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It is so helpful watching instructional videos and seeing someone break down their steps as they paint. After watching three short videos on painting waves, I came away with several tips.
- Determine what direction the light is coming from
- Create the waves with dark and light areas.
- Where is the detail in the painting? And therefore where is the eye drawn to? Contrasts also draw the eye.
- Keep slivers of white (the paper) which suggests waves in the distance. Add dark areas in front of these.
- Blotting with a tissue can create the spray of a wave
- Dark edges makes the foam look thicker
- Wet sand has blue in it
- Horizontal strokes in your painting make things look flatter – use a flat brush
- Use other colors in the sky, not just blue
- There is a reflection in things that are wet and shiny – like wet sand
- The position of the horizon line effects the vantage point of the painting (where you are standing on the beach)
- The water is greener closer to the shore
- Colors in a painting – use the same colors throughout your whole painting
As I’ve practiced, I’ve come up with my own tips, including:
- Use white gouache to add foam areas, spray, waves in the distance, etc.
Links to the videos I watched:
- Painting wet sand in watercolor by Grant Fuller
- Painting a breaking wave in watercolor by Ron Hazell
- How to paint ocean shore waves in juicy watercolors by Chris Petri
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See my watercolor and acrylic seascapes at shop.eileenmckenna.com.