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Painting the Sea and Its Sparkling Water – Simple Tips

Ah, the beach! When that sun comes out, myself, hubby and the kids are there faster than you can say “sandcastle”.

Here in the UK, it’s done nothing but rain for weeks on end so last weekend when the sun made a rare appearance we headed straight to the beach. Yes, it was still cold but the sun really did warm us and I certainly wasn’t staying indoors lol!

Whilst there I took lots of photos of the dazzling sea, it seemed to sparkle that day. It was almost as if the sparkle just sat on the water.

So it got me thinking about the sea and how we capture that beautiful light.

Here are some of my top tips:

Tip 1: Look Beyond Blue

Firstly, it’s key to notice that the sea isn’t just blue. It has layers of blue, grey, and green – like in my picture above. Mix up your palette to reflect this variety. Look for the subtleties in the hues, it really can make a difference.

Tip 2: Sun Behind the Clouds

The sun behind the clouds softens the colours of the sea. So in your painting, let’s keep the contrasts gentle, nothing too stark or bright.

Tip 3: The Grey Scale

In the sea, the grey ranges from medium to light. Avoid going too dark or too light across the board. Save the brightest bits for the water’s sparkle.

Tip 4: Warmer Shallows

The shallow water near the shore will look warmer and lighter. Add a bit of sandy hue to those areas to show the transition from sea to shore.

Tip 5: Sparkling Technique

The sparkle in the distance should be subtle, almost blending in. As you move to the foreground, define it more to create depth.

Tip 6: Frothy Details

The froth isn’t pure white; it’s a soft, light grey. The same goes for the sparkles – they might look white but have a touch of colour in them.

Tip 7: Simplify Your Scene

Your canvas doesn’t need every single detail from the scene. Feel free to edit out things – like removing some rocks or shifting the boat around – to create a balanced composition.

Tip 8: Easy on the Clouds

And for the clouds, too many can make the sky look crowded. Pick a few favourites to include that complement your sea.

Please use this picture as your muse and share your creations with me. I’m so excited to see how you bring your own sparkle to the sea!

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