12 Jul 2016Mont Marte Blog

Paint a realistic wave with water mixable oils

In this lesson Joe paints a realistic crashing beach wave in H2O Water Mixable Oil Paints. There are lots of tricks and techniques you can learn when using this fantastic medium, so get your notebook ready for some great tips!

Step 1. Transferring the image

On the first image of this PDF is the outline of the wave. Use this image to refer to and draw the line work of the wave onto the canvas, in this case a 120 cm x 60 cm Double Thick Canvas. I use a Blue Colour Pencil so the line work will not be visible. This drawing is not to complex, just ensure that the horizon line is in the right position. This lies approximately 1/4 of the way down the canvas.

Step 2. Creating the sky

I have created an island to the right of the skyline. If you wish to create this too then paint it in first. Use Sap Green and then highlight it with Lemon Yellow. Cut the sky colour into this. To create the sky lay in a band of Sky Blue mixed with Zinc White in equal proportions across the horizon. Next paint the rest of the sky area in with Cerulean Blue. Finally add a band of Phthalo Blue across the top. Next using a clean dry wide Taklon artists brush, blend the colours so the transition is smooth. Once the sky is in, use a palette knife to remove the paint from the areas in which you wish the clouds to lie. Lay some Zinc White into the cloud areas, making sure to soften the edge of each cloud so no hard edge is visible. Add the highlights with Titanium White and blend them in. I have created storm clouds on the left of the sky, and if you wish to do this, follow the same steps but tint the White with Cerulean Blue and a touch of Crimson Red.

Step 3. Creating the ocean

The ocean behind the wave can be handled a couple of ways. It can be painted in the one colour and left at that, or a reflected sky pattern can be added. If the first option is preferred then Phthalo Blue can be lightened with a little Sky Blue. For the second option, then pure Phthalo Blue can be laid in, allowed to dry, and then a series of 5mm long Grey horizontal lines can be painted in. Make them very close so the effect works. Use a small flat brush to create these lines.

Step 4. Under painting

Now that the sky and ocean have been rendered, we can move onto the wave and foreground. For the wave, create a mix of Zinc White, Light Green, Viridian and Cerulean Blue, and paint this around the foam and down 2/3 of the wave. Next create a mix of Light Green and Viridian and paint a band in across the bottom of the previous colour. Blend these colours into each other.

The Green at the bottom of the wave can be created with a mix of Sap Green and Yellow Ochre. Lay this in under the last Green and blend them together, extend this tone along to the other side of the canvas, but add some Cerulean Blue into the mix to suggest a shadow under that wall of foam. The foreground is sand so create a mix of Yellow Ochre and Zinc White.

Take the wide taklon brush, dip it in water, charge the brush with paint and scrub the colour into the area right up to the Green. Finally blend the Green into the sand colour.

Step 5. Glazing

In this step we lay a secondary coat over the wave and foreground. For the wave create a mix of Light Green and Viridian. Add some Linseed Oil Medium so the paint is translucent. Paint this into the face of the wave with a soft flat brush. Ensure that the underpainting can be seen. Add a band of Sap Green and Van Dyke Brown along the base of the wave and blend this in to the Green glaze on the face of the wave. Next create a Blue Grey from Turquoise, Zinc White and Cerulean Blue and lay this up to the wave and to the edge of the shore water. Blend the Green into this Grey. Then create a sand tone from Yellow Ochre and Zinc White mixed with medium and lay this into the sand area.

Step 6. Adding the sea foam

The sea foam can be thought of as 2 separate types. The foam created from the wave crashing and the thin foam that lies on the face of the wave, and surface of the water. For the ‘crashing foam’ first a Medium Grey must be laid down. Create this mix from Zinc White, Mars Black, Viridian, Cerulean Blue and Crimson. Lay the Grey into the foam on top of the wave. Ensure this coat is applied thinly.

Next apply some Titanium White and suggest a roundish shape like what was done with the clouds. Do the highlight areas last. Finally add some splashes and dots with a fine liner brush.

For the foam on the face of the wave and the surface, it is a good idea to print out some reference material to ensure your patterns look convincing. Add some more Zinc White to the Grey mix and add some Linseed Medium so the mix is the viscosity of thin cream. Lay in the patterning with a rigger brush. Pay close attention to the shape of the wave and bear this in mind when applying this patterning. When you get to the foam in the foreground make the foam shapes larger and add more White so that they are brighter. As you add the patterning on the surface into the distant area of the wave make the patterning smaller and closer together.

Step 7. Detailing

The last step is to give some dimension to the shore water closest to the viewer. Lay in a line of Van Dyke Brown mixed with an equal proportion of Linseed Oil Medium and paint it along the edge of the water on the sand and blend it out into the sand. Next add some pure Titanium White along the top of the edge of the water. Finally use the Grey mix and lay a fine line along above the Brown and then bled it into the White.

Material List

  • Water Mixable Oil Paint Premium 37ml (1.25oz) - Yellow Ochre
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Titanium White
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Zinc White
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Permanent Crimson
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Sky Blue
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Cerulean Blue
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Phthalo Blue
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Light Green
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Turquoise
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Viridian
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Mars Black
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Sap Green
  • Water Mixable Oil Paint 37ml (1.25oz) - Van Dyke Brown
  • Double Thick Canvas Premium 60.9 x 121.8cm (24 x 48in)
  • Artist Acrylic Brush Taklon Flat Long 16
  • Gallery Series Brush Set Acrylic 6pce
  • Artist Acrylic Brush Premium Taklon Flat Wide 50mm (1.98in)
  • Artist Acrylic Brush Premium Taklon Short Bright 6
  • Palette Knife Signature No.4

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