How Does an Expert Artist Paint Beautiful Seascapes?

August 12, 2020

Ocean in Motion is an original oil painting by Debra Keirce

By Chelsea Reed

Have you ever looked at a painting of a seascape and wondered, “How in the world did they paint that?” Think about it - every whitecap, wave, and shadow was put there by a human hand! It’s even more amazing to marvel when you try to paint a seascape yourself. Let’s go on an insider’s tour to see how artists paint those remarkable seascapes. 


They Master the Technique of Painting Light 

Last Days of Summer an original oil painting by Suzanne Morris. Water reflects light, so understanding how to paint light is essential to the artist. She does this by considering several factors, such as the shapes of the water and whether she’s painting in acrylic or oil. Even the type of lamp they’re working under can affect how the lighting of the painting will look. That’s why some artists prefer to paint plein air, which is painting outside. 


Then They Build the Sea

Shapes in the water help the artist build the structure of the sea as well as the reflective light. A calm ocean consists of a simple flat plane, but rough waters are a bit more complicated. That’s where shapes come in. If an artist wants to paint a scene with rolling waves, he can draw circles, squares and cylinders first as the foundation for the shapes of the water.


Broken Color Plays a Role

Another clever technique that artists use for water is painting in broken color. Several distinct colors are brushed in unblended strokes on top of each other to create the sense of texture in the water. They appear to be a mess of colors close up, but the scene is soft and beautiful further away. Broken color is a technique that is characteristic of the popular Impressionism art style. 


Finally, They Paint Soft and Hard Edges

Expert artists brush with soft edges, hard edges, and lost edges. A soft edge is a smooth transition of two shapes in the scene. A lost edge is a super-soft edge that you can barely see. Hard edges define the subject’s shape with a sharper contrast. It’s less common to see hard edges in a seascape, but they can make a big splash - literally. A good example of a hard edge in a seascape is a crashing wave


Is the sea calling out to you? Explore Seaside Art Gallery’s Seascape collection today. Who knows - you may find a special piece that brings the sea to you! 


Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina





Also in Blog

The Big Send Off (Minnesott Beach Ferry, NC) is a watercolor painting by the artist, Tony Craig
Can You Identify the Names of These Delightful Birds?

February 23, 2021

It may be chilly outside, but it’s always bird watching season at Seaside Art Gallery! Today we’re going to see some beautiful birds that are featured in this year's Animals of Arts Show.

Continue Reading

Bear Necessities is an original oil painting by Kelly McNeil.
Close Encounters of the Wild Kind - 6 Favorite Wildlife Art Pieces

February 15, 2021

Thanks to the encouragement of spending time outside in the fresh air, outdoor adventures are more popular than ever. Families are exploring National Parks and other areas, some of which they have never seen before.

Continue Reading

Follow the Sun is an original oil painting of the wild horses on the Outer Banks beach by artist, Alice Ann Dobbin.
4 Fascinating Facts About Wild Outer Banks Horses

February 09, 2021

Also known as “Banker ponies,” the wild horses of the Outer Banks are among the most precious treasures of North Carolina’s coastal habitat. This special population of wild horses once roamed beaches from Ocracoke to Corolla until paved roads were established.

Continue Reading

Back to top