Paint the Ocean! Watercolor for Beginners. | Emily Davis | Skillshare

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Paint the Ocean! Watercolor for Beginners.

teacher avatar Emily Davis, ARTIST || watercolor artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies needed

    • 3. Paint Colors

    • 4. Painting Our Sky

    • 5. Painting in Our Ocean

    • 6. Painting our Beach

    • 7. Adding shadows to Our Waves

    • 8. Finishing Touches and Outro

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About This Class

In Today's class I teach you how to paint a very simple Ocean Landscape using five colors, along with white acrylic Ink. This class is easy to follow along and perfect for beginners! the techniques I teach in this class are so easy and fun! You'll be able to paint waves in no time!

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Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Davis

ARTIST || watercolor artist


Hello, I'm Emily.

I'm a Mom of two and a painter during nap time. I've always had a passion for art, ever since a young age. It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I discovered watercolor and even then it wasn't until after my first born that I decided to give it an honest shot. Let me just say I LOVED it!

I'm so passionate about creativity and creating beauty through art! I really hope I can bring that to you in simple ways so that you can also express yourself through painting! 

I'm excited that you're here!


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1. Intro: Hi, and welcome to another one of my watercolor classes here on Skillshare. My name is Emily, I'm a watercolor artist and I teach watercolor for beginners. In today's class. I'm going to be teaching you how to paint this very simple watercolor ocean scene is really easy and only uses a few colors. Very easy to follow along if you haven't painted the ocean before. This class is really short and sweet. And with that, I'll just jump right into it. I hope you enjoy. 2. Supplies needed: We're gonna go ahead and get started prepping for this painting. So you want to take your paper and I am going to have mine cut to a six by eight inch. And then I'm going to take that to my table, leaving just a little margin around the edge. So I've got this piece right here that I'm gonna be working with, and I'm going to tape that down. Now a few things that you're going to be needing is a painting trade. It can be anything, it can be a plate, but you need something to separate your colors. And the colors that we're going to be working with are a Davies gray, which is the gray that has a little bit of green in it. If you don't have this, you can use a normal gray and add a little bit of green. So I've got two greens here that are more on the blue side than the yellow side. We're going to choose one of them today to use in our painting. I'm going to be going with this earth green for migraine today, but you could even use something like this. Cobalt green. You're going to need a blue, and then you're going to need a brown that's a little bit more on the orange side. If you don't have our colors similar to this burnt sienna, I would get an orange and a brown. We'll mix them together and then you're going to need a, a tan or a buff color. With watercolor, you don't typically have a white paint. So we are going to be using white acrylic ink for this painting. Now this we will be using at the very end. And this is just kinda gonna be adding some detail to our waves. But if you don't have this, I would highly recommend using it because it adds a lot of element to the painting. 3. Paint Colors: To get started, we're going to put my colors into our tray. Now the color that we'll be using the most of will be our blue and our Davies gray. So I'm going to be putting those in my larger section right here so that I have plenty of room to mix them. And violet bound because we don't want to be making a very harsh, bright ocean. We want it to be more of a subdued, moody ocean. And then you're gonna take your green. Definitely not agreeing that has yellow in it. But now on your pan. And then your two brown tones. So this is like a burnt sienna, orangeish brown. And then we have a Buff Titanium. Those are the colors that I'll be working with today. So we're gonna go ahead and get started with the top portion of our painting, which will be the sky. 4. Painting Our Sky: Those colors aside, grab your water. And a wash brush for this painting are green, mostly working on this lower third of the paper. So we're going to turn the top half of the paper into a sky. Now to make this really simple, because I want this to be more beginner friendly. We're going to be creating a wash on the top two-thirds of our paper. And we're going to make it a little bit of a gradient wash. So it's going to be darker towards the top and get lighter as it goes down. We're not going to be adding clouds. So for that, what you're going to want to do is wet the top two-thirds of your paper and then taking a large brush. So this is a size 14. This is just from a local art store, but it's a larger brush. We're going to be dipping our brush in our water and taking this gray and using solely just the gray as our sky. So that's what I like about this gray is it has that slight touch of green which makes it look like it's foggy or there's moisture in the air, which works really well for this ocean painting because there's typically typically a lot of fog in the mornings or evenings with an ocean. So set that down. And the way this is going to work is you're going to want to start with a lot of that color on the top part of your paper. And then keep adding color. So it's a consistent hue all the way around. And work your way down. Keep adding color. And they once were about this far away, about kind of close to the top third filled in. We're gonna start to add that color to the sides, but to kind of blend it outward towards the middle so that there's a little bit of a gradient. So it's not quite so dark right down there in the middle of the painting. And then work your way down towards the bottom when there's not much color left on your brush just enough. Now taking whatever you have left of that color, just add a little bit more into these top edges. And that's going to be our sky. So some really, really simple. 5. Painting in Our Ocean: Now to continue on, after our sky has dried completely, you're going to take a smaller brush. So this is a size 10, or you can even take size eight. You just want something that works a little better for our detailing. So I went to a size 10. Then you're going to dip your brush in your water and make a mixture of this gray and this blue. Now you do want it to be blue, like water. We don't want it to be like the color of this blue by itself. So if you can see just how bright this blue is in comparison to your sky, that little look very fake. So you want something a little bit more of a combination of both. So right here I have a tester piece of paper and so we want to test it out. See that still too blue. You really do want to be adding a lot of this gray. And even this is where this green can come in a little bit if you want. And so if you see this, that looks a lot more like that sky, but it also does look like ocean from far away. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna get started with our ocean. Now you're going to want to start light and dark. You really don't want to put in so much color that you can't easily add more depth without it becoming muddy. So we're going to just create our horizon line. So even that's too dark. So when I do that is dilute my brush and just kinda soften that edge. So going with your horizon, you can even just soften the edge a little bit so it doesn't look super crisp because this is host, we kinda foggy. So what I would do is get your brush wet and just go over that line so it blends into the sky a little bit. And what we're gonna do is just leaving a couple patches of white. We're gonna make them a little bumpy, a little inconsistent because there's going to be like the top of our waves. So you don't want them to be perfect. And I'll leave a couple of patches a little bigger than others. So right here I'm leaving a patch here, and we'll leave this patch white. And I'm going to leave a little bit down here, Y as well. So I think you can see, I'm not making straight lines, I'm kind of making them very sloppy. So it looks like the sloppiness of waves. Now right here, you're going to want to leave a little bit. Like for me it's about a half an inch where I'm going to have no ocean and just have sand. So leave the edge of your ocean like this. Leave it kinda messy because we're going to go over it in just a little bit. So I'm happy with that. So we've got these three random patches that are really sloppy, kinda like the shape of a cheeto. You think about it, it's kinda bumpy and sloppy. 6. Painting our Beach: Now while this dries, we're going to go ahead and get started on our beach. So I'm going to take that size 8 brush. So it's just a little bit smaller than the last one that I had. And I'm going to get this buff color, which on its own looks like sand. And what we're gonna do is add just the tiniest bit of this orangey color. Mine looks a little too bright for this kind of painting because it's supposed to be cloudy. So I'm going to add a little bit more of your above and then just the tiniest touch. That grade, just the tiniest because you don't want it to become a yucky, muddy green color. But you do want something similar to this where it's muted, kind of Sandy, and then dilute it just a little bit. We're going to fill in most of not all of that area right down there. Make sure you fill in all the way to the edge of the paper though. Because waves hit the sand, we're going to just kind of create the illusion of water. And there's some sand behind it, kind of so registering a few random taps. So now this looks like the water is a little turbulent and like it's hitting the sand. Kind of soften a little bit. So it's not too, too sharp. You just don't want any crisp lines with the ocean because the ocean is never team. For the most part, there's always a little bit of turbulence, a little bit of wave action going on. So we have this. Now what we're gonna do is taking this orangeish brown. It looks very different compared to this. Add sandy color. We make step and we're going to add a little bit of that gray to it to kinda tone it down. So now it looks like just a darker version of that sand. It was a very light hand. You're going to get it and you're going to just make a few shadows right here under some of the waves. Not a lot because you don't need a lot, just a few. And I'm going to also hit a little bit of this edge. Now. Taking your brush, get it wet and soften out those so that it's blended a little better. 7. Adding shadows to Our Waves: And then moving on to the ocean. So we're gonna go back to our ocean color that we made and we're actually going to mix in a little bit of this green. So this green on its on, looks like this is very, very green, but it adds another little layer of depth to our paintings. So we're going to mix a little bit of that green in with our blue and with our gray to create an even darker color. So like something like this is similar, but it's like a darker shade. Now, you're going to want to be very light with this and just kinda go over in a few spots to create some depth. So I'm just doing very faint little lines and I'll kinda wiggling them a little bit. And kind of focus some of them under your white patches that you made. So it's kinda like the shadow of the car, like the shadow of the wave. So those are my lines and now I'm gonna get my brush wet and I'm going to soften those a little bit. And as you soften them, you can kinda wiggle your brush around to extend them here. There are just kinda got a little element to your waves. So I'm like just wiggling my brush around and adds a little bit to my painting them. Taking that same color, we're going to make just little tiny lines. So you can see I'm making the tiniest little curvy lines that's not even invisible, something like this. So and then he can even make the line and have it curve under a little bit, kind of like a hook and then keep going. So we're trying to make some little tiny curvy lines and we don't want too many of them clustered together. But this adds a little bit of element to your waves. I'll see you really don't need a lot of them. You just kinda wanna be filling the spots where there isn't a lot going on anyway. We got plenty of stuff going on right here with the white, and then we have plenty of stuff with these shadows, but in these patches where it's kind of a little bit lighter, you want to have just something going on. So this kinda adds the idea that there's extra waves. And even these ones out here, I made them a little too dark, so I'm going to just wet my brush and soften them out a little bit. And you're going to let that dry completely. And then you're going to bring out your ink. 8. Finishing Touches and Outro: So to add some finishing touches, we're gonna take our white ink. You're going to want to shake it up really well. And then this is what I like to have a scratch paper for because this ink will dry and it's very hard to clean off your tray. But you're going to take your white ink and just leave a little pile to work with. Now if you don't have white ink, you can actually just use some white acrylic paint. You might want to download it just a little bit, but this is essentially just going to be adding a little bit highlights now because we have all our dark spots, so you have everything else. Now this is going to just add a little bit extra, so this doesn't need it, but it does add a lot. So what I'm gonna do is wherever I have my white patches, I'm going to go across the top and make some little lines like we did, kind of some added texture to make it look like the water is flowing all over the place. Now the white ink dries a little bit more transparent than an acrylic paint. With acrylic paint, you just have to be really careful that you're not adding big globs of really thick paint. So you would probably want to dilute it a little bit. Remember going in and we're going to even add a couple little swirly lines over here. But continue on putting some little curves on top of those white patches to add water flowing and some movement. And then we're also going to take that and add a little bit of movement down here in the sand. So we have so it looks like our waves are extending into the sand a little bit. There we go. With that, you're done and you can leave it like this. Or if you'd like, you can add some little faint birds in the distance or something, but this is your painting all finished. I hope it was easy to follow along and that you're happy with your outcome. Definitely share it with me. Let's go ahead and remove our tape. So it's a very simple, very easy watercolor ocean.