Welcome to the P.A.L. about painting seascapes, a real challenge for me but I hope we can all help each other as we try to make waves move!
The photograph chosen, by a very small majority is the one of Lincoln Beach in Australia, by VickiB.
I contacted Vicki for a little clarification about the area and what might appear to some (me!!) to be mountains and snow in the distance (how could that be I thought?!) are actually sand dunes and sun.
"The distant mountains are sand hills, we don't have snow in this part of the world.
This photo is taken at the very bottom of Lower Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. The coast is rugged and wind swept and either sand dunes or rugged cliff faces. The photo here is taken at Sleaford in the Port Lincoln National Park."
So here we are, about to embark on painting these wind-blown breakers – where do we start?
First we need to understand the anatomy of the wave.
It has a ‘face, an ‘eye’, a baseline and a break – plus foam and spray.
A couple of digital sketches -
When painting it, do as you would with any other shape and form and make the brushstrokes follow the form and fall of the wave.
This particular seascape is of rolling lines of waves, some behind, cresting and foaming a little and one in front of the main wave having already crashed and is mostly foam and spray.
I have suggested colours which may be useful:
Viridian, Violet, Ult. Blue, Cad yellow plus Black and White. (Any other blues you have or feel you need!)
Aliz. Crimson and Phthalo Blue can also be used to make a grey/lavender colour where the violet is lighter ….
N.B. The Phthalo Bl is strong, so use very little with the Aliz. Crimson.
Study the colours of the image – what goes where?
- Are the waves uniformly blue? – green? – grey with a hint of violet? – or what?
- Is the face of the wave a uniform blue/green? Where is it lightest and where darkest?
- The curve of the break of the wave – where is it lightest/darkest?
- How dark do you think the overall sea is? – darker or lighter than you’d expect?
- Is the white foam all white? Is there any warmth added to it? Is there form to the foam?
These are questions simply to get you looking!
Viewing YouTube, some painters suggest starting with black at the base line area of the wave, filling in with the other colours and blending with a fan brush ……… I often find a fan too light for acrylics and if you do too, go with whichever brush is comfortable for ‘scrubbing’ and blending … always in the direction of the part of the wave you’re painting.
I’m using a straight-edge brush for filling and forming the direction – I’ve tried to indicate this in the digital example above.
You want the break of the wave coming over to be smooth and the movement of the brushstroke can indicate this – make your hand move along, then down at an angle – practise! – then add the paint!
On the face of the wave, the curve goes the opposite way – down and then along.
Notice the thin line of foam along the top of the wave before it breaks? – use a ‘dot and dash’ movement when trying this so the white/light paint touches and lifts to create movement.
I’m suggesting that you do a practice-wave first. Block in the base colours, then add the others and blend as you go. Make sure the ‘eye
’ of the wave is the brightest part, the curve of the face the most translucent and note where the dark areas are.
Leave the high-lights – foam and spray - to the end ….. warm the white foam colour with a little yellow, perhaps a little violet to to grey it? and bright white for the lighest parts … some spattering perhaps for the spray spots ....... and then, for the wind-blown spray, use the fan brush very lightly to get that ‘curtain’.
If/when you might want to add some of those patterns of lines, or in some images, lace-effect foam you see on the waves, use a filbert and/or small round, a thinner, lighter version of the colour of the wave, and ‘dance’ the brush along – lifting and touching ……. While still wet, try the fan, with a very light touch, to pull wisps out of the lace pattern …….. practise!!!
I’ve suggested the practice piece so you can then move on to the image you’d most like to paint for your seascape.
It seems only fair that you have choice, the 'votes' for the images were so close!
You may, of course, crop to a picture and format you like – so if you wanted to do the one with the figures, for example, you could use a portrait orientation ……….. or, for the lighthouse, either format!
I think we’re ready to start!
Edit to add.........
Two images from Meggs for anyone wishing to make a painting of a less lively sea!!!!
........ after the practice-wave, of course
Taken at Flagstaff Hill. New South Wales/Queensland Border.. Aus