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  • Writer's pictureDale Jackson

Developing the Waves

After I completed the underlying layers of blue in the deeps to the aqua layers in the shallows and then the sand up to the shoreline, I did a rough outline of where I wanted waves to be using my white mixed in W&N Liquin Original to thin. After this, I began creating the waves far in the distance. I used Titanium white mixed with cobalt blue and a touch of ivory black. Since the waves were far in the distance, I kept the details, highlights and shadows to a minimum. I used a fan brush to create the wave breaks in the choppy waters.

Painting distant wave lines with the flat edge of the fan brush.

Painting distant waves with the edge of the fan brush to create the choppy wave and spray.

After getting a good portion of the background waves and water painted, I started to paint the rolling wave in the middle, not just to the foreground just yet. This was at the part of the painting where the deeper blues start giving way to shallower aqua water as the sun illuminates the wave from behind.

I start to use a small flat brush and twist and turn the brush to add the spray of foam coming off the rolling wave and on it's leading edge. I also use combinations of aqua green, with touches of dioxazine purple, white and a tad bit of ivory black to create the shadow areas underneath where the crest of the wave is. I then use titanium white for the most illuminated areas of the sea spray coming off of the wave while using mixtures of white to blue/green/gray for foam structure.

Developing wave structure

In the photo above I'm using a palette knife to create a thick impasto layer that will indicate a wave ripple that is pushing forward, I'll begin to develop this low wave as the painting progresses.

Wave action work in progress. I continue to modify the waves as I go.

Work in progress on the waves and then I start to develop the shallow areas that are over the sand all the way up to the beach.

Taking a very small flat brush, I begin to refine the foamy areas that are between each and riding up on the slopes of the waves.

Developing the surf using titanium white, diaxazine purple, cerulean blue, ivory black, burnt umber.

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