Painting a SEASCAPE - 'Piha Wild Sea'
This seascape is inspired by Piha Beach in West Auckland, New Zealand. I used to live and work in Auckland but I'd get down to Piha whenever I could to get photo reference for seascapes.
This is a little painting of Piha where I wanted to emphasise the wild sea, but make the location recognisable. This small painting served as a colour study for a larger canvas painting. I love doing small paintings and they look great in frames.
In this post I'll show you my painting process.
Piha Wild Sea, 8" x 10", oil on wooden panel.
This is one of the reference photos I used.
The Painting Process
The following photos are of my process of painting this seascape.
I start with a base of burnt sienna which I allow to dry before I start the painting. I always start a painting by blocking in the sky, which I mixed using cobalt blue, cobalt teal, ultramarine blue and titanium white. I mix the clouds with a combination of ultramarine blue, burnt umber, quinacridone magenta and titanium white.
I use the same colour combination for the distant cliffs and Lion Rock on the right. I mix a very desaturated green for the distant cliffs.
I increase the saturation of Lion Rock in the mid-ground and I use earth tones such as burnt umber, burnt sienna and yellow oxide for the highlights on the rocks. If the colours are too saturated I can knock it back with a bit of ultramarine blue.
I paint the translucency of the wave with cobalt teal a little pthalo green and titanium white. The main body of the wave is mixed with more ultramarine blue, a bit of pthalo green and burnt umber. The foam is painted with the same colour combination I used in the clouds. Using similar colours throughout the painting makes it more harmonious as the colours coordinate better.
I'm in the modelling phase of the painting, refining the sea, painting the reflected light on the breaking wave.
I paint the foam patterns on the breaking wave which really adds drama to the painting. I paint the highlights of the foliage on Lion Rock and as it's in the mid-ground I desaturate the green a little. I mix desaturate green with yellow oxide, ultramarine blue and titanium white, and then to turn up the colour I start adding cadmium yellow deep and pthalo green. Go easy on the pthalo green, it's really strong and can quickly overpower your mixture.
I add the final highlights to the sea saving my lightest tones until last, this makes the painting pop!
The finished painting.
Piha Wild Sea, 8" x 10", oil on wooden panel
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