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[ Home: : Painting with John Hagan: Painting waves 2 - Advanced ]


How to paint small waves ... continued

In the detail of the wave shown opposite you may be convinced you are looking through the wave ... but this is mere illusion. My steps in painting were as follows:

1) Paint the whole canvas a thinned mix of dirty sand colored raw sienna mixed with a little raw umber and white. Adjust for a approx value 5 or 6. Let dry to the toutch.

2) With a nice runny flake or lead white with a little ultramarine and cobalt blue and using flowing figure eight horizontal hand movements create the wave tops.

3) Add some white to the raw sienna/umber mix and paint the pattern into the verticle wave surface making sure thet the lighter more intense pattern is in the shallower wave's forward edge as I have shown.

NOTE: Don't begin the painting until you see the finished article and understand all the steps ... particularly the point that to make something look behind someting else does not necessarily mean painting it that way!

You will understand now the simplicity of the whole scene though there are a few points to be understood from looking at the painting above.

1) The reflected light on the top of the waves gets lighter as it goes back (the angle of incidence with the horizon decreases. In other words the tops of the closer waves are slightly darker in value as they reflect a higher part of the sky.

2) The waves get smaller as they receed.

3) The front of the little waves gets darker and bluer as the water deepens. In other words the sand color disappears.

Every problem can be solved by a careful study of the photographs shown on the previous page or by another visit to the beach ... which is not a bad idea anyway ...

The figures are from sketches I made ... I added the swimming costumes and altered there colors and to give a more satisfactory color scheme.

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