Aleksandra Bzdzikot




Seascape - painting tips

How to make a sea painting? 

For many artists painting sea is far away from being a piece of cake. Sea is not a standard, immovable object. It changes all the time and is in constant movement. That's why it's more challenging to capture its essence and depict it on a paitning. 


Let's start with a very basic question: what color is the sea? 



The color of the sea will always be different, depending on a range of elements such as weather, its depth, how much wave action there is, the color of the sky... It can be pitch black at night, pastel blue with strong sun and greenish if it's a bit muddy. Therefore, the first key to understanding how to paint the sea is observation.





If you don't have sea in the place where you live, then go and check out a river or a small stream. Notice how it behaves, how it flows, what colors it has.

The color of the sea will change with times of the year and weather conditions. To paint water, you will need a palette of blue shades. The best ones to start are:


- Prussian blue

- Ultramarine

- White

- Cobalt blue

- Green

- Mint green 

- Turquoise 





A hint: white color is very important when painting the sea. It will help you to sculpt the waves and add a bit of depth to your painting. Sometimes I also find using silver a good idea. Imagine the sea waves sparkling in the sunny weather. Silver and gold can make it happen on your painting. 




We already discussed the palette and the observation as the point of departure for our sea painting. Now, let's get down to the process of painting. When painting sea you need to remember about its:


- flow - the direction in which the water flows, its movements 

- color - the shades it has the moment you see it 

- rhythm - patterns the waves make


All these elements will help you to depict water in a 3D shape. Do you have your canvas or paper ready? Let's start, then. 


A) Draw the horizon line


Simply draw the horizontal line. You decide how much space of the canvas the sea will take. The other part will be the sky. Naturally, you can add some mountains or maybe some pieces of land with buildings on the horizon line. 


B) Add the lightest colors first


When painting your sea put the lawyers of the brightest colors first. Then, it will be easier to add new darker colors onto it. If you do the contrary, it will be difficult to brighten up the sea  and sculpt the details. Start with bright blue, light turquoise and white.



C) Paint on the darker colors


Now it's time to dip your brush in dark blue colors. That's how you give depth to your painting. You can play a bit and add some layers on the lighter shades. The colors will mix on the canvas and this can bring about a lovely effect. 


D) Sculpt the waves and water depth 


Waves are like mountain ridges. With a difference that they move. But on the painting you depict them 'frozen' in their movement. Therefore, imagine that waves are like small hills on the surface of the sea. Use white and silver to sculpt their ridges. Add white wherever you see the bubbles and foam. 





E) Learn from the greatest masters


Ivan Aivazovsky is one of the greatest masters of marine art. He created truly spectacular paintings of seascapes that capture the beautiful, shimmering essence of the sea waters. One of the best to potray the nature of the sea.


When painting the sea don't forget to go with the waves. Pursue your own style. Make it your sea. The way YOU perceive it. This is what makes it unique for others. Your individual point of perception. 


Happy painting!





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