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let's do an ocean painting
Let's take what we have learned and do a basic seascape painting that includes a foam burst.
Let's Paint Ocean
the colors we will use
- A Warm yellow
- Burnt Sienna
- Alizarin Crimson
- Ultramarine Blue or Thalo Blue
- Thalo Green or Viridian
- Titanium White
what do you paint on?
This painting is done on a ad - 11x14 gallery wrap canvas.
ad - Hog Hair brushes are normally used to paint ocean.
how to paint ocean
- Do some thumbnail size sketches about the size of a postcard to figure out your composition and values.
When you have it figured out then -
- Sketch your composition on the canvas with either a pencil or thinned paint.
Normally I use thinned yellow paint because it is easy to paint over. This time I used Ultramarine Blue, so it would show up better in the photograph.
Sketch a line drawing on your canvas
first block-in your colors
- Scrub the paint on in a thin layer that covers the canvas with the basic color of each item.
You will be blending the colors later or adding other colors on top of the blocked-in colors. If the blocked-in paint is too thick, it will just make a mess.
paint the background water
Mix your blue and green for a dark color to start painting at the horizon.
Use more green as you come forward. Add a bit of white as you come forward more.
Put a few streaks of darker green on the light green areas to indicate shadowed water.
Paint the background water with the ocean colors
block-in the wave
The wave will be darker at the base because the base is the thickest part of the wave.
Gradually lighten the wave towards the top by adding more white or a pale yellow.
Paint the spill-over with a lighter green because it is not very thick at all.
Use the same colors to block-in the wave
Painting a wave is foundational for how to paint ocean.
paint the sky
Mix your blue with white. If it looks too blue add a tiny touch of Burnt Sienna to tone it down.
The light is coming from the left, so the sky is lighter on the left and darkens slightly to the right.
The sky gets lighter toward the horizon. Warm up the blue with a bit of green toward the horizon.
Paint a sunny day sky
shadow the clouds and foam
- Mix a bit of blue and Alizarin with white to block in the shadow colors on the clouds and foam. If you prefer grey shadows, mix Ultramarine with Burnt Sienna and white.
Horizontal water reflects the sky colors. So, use the sky blues on the water in front of the wave.
Using your artistic license, you may mix in some of the ocean colors for variety.
Block-in the shadow colors and horizontal water
block-in the rocks
- Mix Burnt Sienna with your blue for the rock colors.
More blue makes the mix darker. Mix the color lighter or darker by varying the amount of blue.
The rocks will normally be darker down by the water where the get wet.
To help get the shape of the rocks, think of the rocks as a box with a top and sides.
Block-in the rocks
block-in your sunlight colors
- Mix a little yellow with white for your sunlight color.
Paint it where the sunlight would be striking.
The sun would be hitting the top of the clouds, the top of the foam areas and also some of the wavelets in the foreground water.
When you paint ocean remember the direction of the sunlight. The sun is coming from the left.
Block-in your sunlight colors
refine and finish your painting
The entire canvas is covered with the local colors of each item in the painting. Now we will refine and detail the painting.
blend the shadow and sunlight colors
- Using a clean, dry brush softly blend the sunlight and shadow colors together in the clouds and foam.
There will be a soft line between the shadows and the highlights, no hard lines.
The foam burst looked too pointy, so I trimmed it down rounder.
Start refining the painting
paint the background waves
- Use the sky color and pull your brush horizontally across the background water for the front edge of a few small waves.
Aerial perspective will make the waves look closer together in the distance.
Then pull the sunlight color on in a few places. Put some darker water in front of the waves for their shadows.
Paint small waves in the background water
highlight the rocks
- Highlight the rocks with a mixture of Burnt Sienna mixed with either yellow or white or both.
The highlights in the shadow areas will be greyed by adding blue to the mixture.
Some of the shadowed areas may be very dark.
Splash a bit of shadowed foam against the base of the rocks.
Refine the rocks
paint foam patterns on the wave
- Refine the foam patterns on the wave.
Use the lavender or grey shadow color (your choice of color) and highlight the foam with sunlight in a few places.
Use a medium water color to paint a shadow under the foam that is capping over the top of the transparent wave.
Paint some foam patterns
now you can paint ocean
The ocean is one of my favorite things and it's a fun challenge to paint.
Painting anything takes practice. The more you paint, the better your paintings will be.
Don't try to be perfect. Just paint and enjoy the journey.
Look for any final adjustments
would you like to paint an easy ocean?
Paint this ocean sunset scene with an easy paint by number kit from Amazon.
Reasonably priced 16"x20" scene you can paint with acrylics.