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, and after trying different things, over time you develop a process. You develop a series a steps that you follow every time you paint.

Crashing Wave by Eileen McKenna

Process for painting watercolor seascapes

Here is a summary of my process. Keep reading for links to more in depth resources.

  1. Mix seascape colors  – I mix blues, greens, and browns from ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, and cadmium red.
  2. Mark the horizon line. I use painter’s tape to achieve a straight horizon line.
  3. Paint the ocean water closest to the horizon darker and bluer.
  4. Paint the water in the cresting wave lighter and greener.
  5. Paint the shallow water near shore brown.
  6. Paint the sand. The sand is darkest closer to the ocean where it is wetter.
  7. Paint the crashing waves with white gouache.
  8. Paint the foam with white gouache and a flat brush. Horizontal lines help this area appear flat.
  9. Add shadows to the breaking wave.
  10. Paint the sky as a blue fade that is lighter closest to horizon.
Easy Watercolor Seascape online video lesson for beginners
My video lesson shows you the complete process for painting seascapes. Learn more here.

Learn more about painting watercolor seascapes:

I share my step by step process for painting watercolor seascapes in the following tutorials. Choose the format that works best for you:

Printable Watercolor Seascape Tutorial

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Related post:

Read “Tips on Painting Waves in Watercolor”

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Beginner Watercolor Exploration Guide
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Process for Painting the Beach in Watercolor