painting watercolor seascapes | Erin Kate Archer | Skillshare

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painting watercolor seascapes

teacher avatar Erin Kate Archer, art & illustration

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

    • 1.

      painting watercolor seascapes trailer


    • 2.

      wave anatomy


    • 3.



    • 4.

      color swatching


    • 5.

      studies: crashing wave & white caps


    • 6.

      studies: sparkling & sunset


    • 7.

      studies: tropical water & calm reflections


    • 8.

      paint a full sea !


    • 9.

      outro & project


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About This Class

welcome to painting seascapes in watercolor! in this class we'll go over wave anatomy & color swatches, and do quick studies of different types of seascapes from crashing waves and calm reflections, and learn to create sparkling waters and foam patterns. armed with all these skills, we'll walk through step by step a completed watercolor seascape!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Erin Kate Archer

art & illustration


erin kate archer is a new york-based artist & illustrator with an ethereal, magical style. her work aims to calm, comfort, and transport. from immersive fairytale landscapes and glowing high-key celestial pieces, to charming flora & fauna and children’s book illustrations – erin makes what was once a static image a tranquil visual journey. 


erin has illustrated children's picture books; was selected for the sing for hope NYC piano painting project; is a skillshare top teacher, and has created work for a number of consumer brands. 


follow along with her on instagram, check out her portfolio for some finished projects, and visit her etsy shop to purchase prints... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. painting watercolor seascapes trailer: Welcome to painting seascapes in watercolor. In this class, we'll go over wave anatomy and color swatches and do quick studies of different types of seascapes from crashing waves and calm reflections and learn how to create sparkling waters and foam patterns. Armed with all these skills, will walk through step-by-step a completed watercolor seascape. This sounds interesting to you, enroll now. 2. wave anatomy: Hi, there. I'm Erin Kate Archer. I'm a watercolor illustrator and this is Watercolor Painting Seascapes. Okay. To start out, we are going to do a little bit on wave anatomy. It's just helpful to know all of the terminology that we'll be using throughout the lessons, and always good to have a refresher on the seventh grade science knowledge that you might have forgotten about. So to start out, I'm going to do a dotted line just to represent the calm sea level. If it was completely calm, this is where the flat level would be. Then next, we have the rolling wave. If the direction of travel is this way, we have waves that are rolling in. Great. I should label this. This is the calm sea level and the direction of travel, and then, at this point here at the top of this little ridge is the crest and the opposite of that, which is this sweep below the calm sea level is the trough. We have a few more terminologies that you might not use, but it's always helpful to know. We have the length from crest to crest, and that is the wavelength, and then, you also have the wave height. These are just some helpful terminologies that we'll be using throughout our lessons. 3. supplies: Let's talk supplies. For this class, you'll need some things that are very similar to what I've talked about in my previous classes, but I will be sure to link everything in the class description so that you can check up prices and see what I'm using exactly. But for this project, you'll need some watercolor paper. If you've taken my watercolor galaxies class or even my watercolor crystals class, will be needing a lot less of a thick paper for this class because we're not doing so much on wet. There are still a little bit so you want to make sure you get something of quality. I'm just using this watercolor pad from Canson and it's pretty inexpensive and it was 140 pound paper. I don't find that it buckles too much and I usually use cold press because it absorbs a lot better. But you can really experiment around with different types of papers, whatever you find on sale or whatever, and then decide what you like the best. Next step, we have a pencil to do the outlines, of course, and eraser. Then for brushes, I'm using this silver black velvet brush that I really love and it's Size 8 and is a round brush. I also have a small round brush. I'm not sure what size is this, but just like a tiny round brush will do. This will be for details. Then I also have a square brush, and this is Size 4 so that I can rub out highlights that are on the paper, since you can't erase watercolors, but you can scrub out pigments. Then masking fluid. This is one that I bought off with Amazon and it dries pink, so you can see where you're working. Then I have also included a white gel pen for details, but you can also use a white gouache. Then I have my watercolor palette here. This one is by Aquarelle, but it's a bit expensive, so I'll be sure to link some alternatives. Of course, some water, a paper towel, and then I have a hairdryer here as an alternative supply. You can use this to speed up the drying time up your work. 4. color swatching: Let's talk about color palette. For the most part, we'll be using just a few colors to create our sea painting. It's helpful to go through and mix them around and get a feel for your paints. I'll of course leave the colors for the [inaudible] paints that I'm using. But I will try to link to some cheaper options as well. The main color I use is a bright clear blue. You can take that same blue and add more or less water to it. The more water you add, the more transparent, excuse me, the opposite of pigmented. Here I'm just taking my paints and just getting used to how they mix and how to mix the colors that I'll be using in the upcoming paintings. Then to add more of a green tint, I'll take this blue and I'll add a bit of warm yellow, this give us that nice teal color you can find it in tropical waters and sometimes in lakes. I'll do the same, add a little bit more water to each square. Usually, go one more step as well and add in even more of that yellow to get a true green. Then I love a slate blue or gray for shadows. One more piece when you go in with the greens, you'll see this air crashing waves illustration. It's helpful to have a cooler green as the transparencies come about, which we'll talk about in our next lesson. But I'll take the same blue and add a cool yellow to get a real bright green and add a lot of water to this. This is going to be our main palette. We're going to work with this throughout the lessons, but add and take away where we need to. 5. studies: crashing wave & white caps: So now that we have all of our terminology and all of our supplies and our colors, we're going to move on to doing some actual studies. We're going to work from most energy to lease energy. We're going to start out with a nice crashing waves. One thing you need to remember is the motion that our waves take, which is what we`re looked at with the wave anatomy. But for a crashing wind when it's, when it's coming in. So we're going to have the crash of the wave here, and then this part will be pulling over towards the viewer, which will result in some foam. Then we can have the direction of the water being pulled this way and then flattening out into the foam. That is what comes up on the beach. Of course, like behind this there will be be more water, but we're going to focus on how the actual curve of the wave looks now. The next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to take my masking fluid and I am going to dab along this area, anywhere that you want to keep it completely white, which for us right now is going to be along this foam line. I'm just taking dots so that it's not completely blocked out white because you know foam has a lot of transparencies and it has some shadows still. No need to make it a complete block of masking fluid, also, it will take forever to dry. We're going to keep in mind also how there will be transparencies and there will be different parts of the waves that are going to be lighter than others, but we don't need masking fluid for all those, and for a lot of these details, you can always go in with your white pen or with some whitewash. I'm just going to add a little bit more foam up here. If you are interested in different ways waves form, you can always take a look at different reference pictures even if you just go on Instagram and just study them or when you're at the beach next. That can be really helpful to do that. I'm going to get this to dry and then we'll come back to do the painting. You do want to make sure your masking fluid is completely dry to the touch before you start going in with your watercolors are outside. It'll come up your brush and that stuff can ruin brush as quick The next thing we're going to do is just talk about like the lightness and darkness here. This section here is actually going to be our lightest section and my brushes is old and dirty. But basically what you want to do is take the tiniest bit of this, this light green here. So we're just going to take a tiny bit and mix it with some water. Then, that is going to be our highlighted transparent area. if you look at some reference pictures, you'll see what I mean. Then I'm going to take this and just drag it out. If you remember that? It gets flat as the foam runs all over as we're going into this shore. Then I'm going to just soften out these edges over here. Next we're going to add in a little bit of sand color. I'm going to take that look like a warm yellow, and just mix in a little bit of that blue just to kind of give it a little bit of the reflection of the color that the waves will have. You can also use if you have like a brown, you can mix that in. Whatever you have in your palette should work fine. Then I'm just going to add this where the wave will be coming in and becoming more transparent over the sand. Just again going ahead and flattening that out. Next, we're going to go in with a darker color. So I'm going to move on to this here. This is the blue that we mixed a little bit of yellow into. Now, we've ever felt this like more intense color, we're going to use this to start building the shadows which were are going to happen right underneath the wave, and we'll come back with some gray hair. If you have some kind of spreading like this, don't worry about it because it's water and that's what we're making. So it works out. Then, I'm going to shade along this edge here. If you have a little bit too much bleeding, you can go in and take your paper towel and just dab away any excess water. Always make sure that you're moving your brush in the direction that the wave is moving. Here we have it being pulled up, and then we're going to pull over here with that same color. Then add a little bit of that pale green as well into the pulled over part of the wave. Because I'm sure that there are some transparency that would happen in there. If you realize that you've gone a little bit too dark and there's an area, you can always dab it away. And while it's wet, you basically have the ability to start over. So I'm just adding back in that pale green, which got drowned out by my dark blue color. I'm also going to take the dark blue and just go behind. We're not going to go through the whole ocean here, and we'll do that later on. But just so you can get a little bit of a frame of reference for how the space would look. For that space, we're going to go ahead and take the slate gray at the bottom of our palette, we got that here, so this color. I will be mixing that with a little bit of the blue, as you can tell, it's not so much of the scientific process about what colors you use. I just give you a frame of reference for what I will be using. I'm just going to move through here. This is the shadow behind our crashing wave. You can see it's already starting to take shape. You can see how the palette looks like it's being pushed up. I'm going to let this dry a little bit and then we'll come in and do some more shadow work. So this isn't completely dry now, I've just got all of the excess water out, if you look at it, the side has still a little bit of a glass to it, so the people will still move around a little bit, which is what we want. It can be a good thing or a bad thing. But watercolor, depending on how you like to paint, that you get that moving around a little bit, but I personally like it. I'm taking again that slate gray color, and I'm going to go again on this top to kind of carve it out, because before when I did it, it was still wet, so it's a lot softer. You can see how it's still a little bit wet over here, but that's okay. Then, I'm just going to soften this out. This way we have the hard edge here and then it gets softer as it goes up. Then, taking more of the slate gray. An important shadow you have is right here as the wave is going over the flat part of the water. This is really important for creating that sense of space. You can see how already that makes it look a lot more realistic. I'm going to add a little bit more water, and then I'm going to start darkening up right here at the base of the wave, and over here on the corner. Again, I'm making sure to move in the direction that the water will be moving. So right now I'm going to just take a wet brush with no paint on it and then move up the paint so that it covers the transparent light green part. But you can still see thorough because this layer of dark blue is still transparent. If it's looking a little bit too dark for you, you can go ahead and dab away a little bit. Then I'm also going to take a wet brush and soften this edge. So already looking pretty wavy here. I'm going to take a little bit more blue and I am going to drag this down a little bit more. I'm also going to go into the bottom parts of the foam because there will be more shadow on the bottom parts because the light's coming from the top. I'm going to take my dark blue with a little bit more of that slate color and add a little bit more darkness here. I feel the shadow has gotten a bit away from me, so i'm going to clean it up a little bit here. I don't want it to extend too far down because I'm imagining that this part is going to be completely flat. We're just using the shadows, pulling them in a little bit more to show that. I'm just tipping up the shadows, leaving some space for the lines to pull through. Again, if you feel you've gone too far, you can always add a little bit more color where you see that. I'm going to add a little bit more of the blue to the top of the wave here. Because really as the wave curls up, this is the section that is getting the most light. This point is a little bit more about messing with it. I'm just making sure the colors are where you want them located. A reference picture i'm making sure it's true to that. Where it can be at least and then adding darker shadows and lighter and highlight if you can as you go along. If you're finding that the paint is not working with you, you can always take a minute, and dry out your piece, and then return to it. I'm just going to go in with another round of shadows. I'm taking that dark blue and mixing it with some of this light gray. Just going to add some stronger highlights as succeeding shadows throughout this. You can see how different the color gets when it dries. Really, with watercolors, you can't go too strong at first because it always lightens up. i'm just taking not so wet brush and pulling the color so that it creates a streaky look. Then i'm just going to pull it back. Then i'm going to add some of that same color to this pulled over part of the wave. Then we're going to let this completely dry. I probably sound like a broken record here, but it's really important to make sure it's completely dry before using masking to tear your paper off. You can either use an eraser or just use your fingers.You can reveal that nice white paper underneath. It's so helpful to have a colored masking fluid because you cannot see where you've put it. If you have a mask control that dries away, sometimes it's impossible to see. If you leave it more than a couple of days, it can fuse to your paper. You're going to be wary of that as you are painting with masking fluid. Then with the details, i'm going to go in with some white gouache. You could have also done this part with the masking fluid but the final effect is just not quite as nice as when I go in with some white gouache. I'm taking my tiny brush and I'm just going to add some sea spray here. Gouache, is basically a type of watercolor that's opaque instead of transparent or more towards opaque. It's really helpful if you're doing things on top here, these little circles are a little bit too perfect to be phony. I'm just using that to mess them up a little bit rough him up. You can also take your brush and do some splatters here and there to make really tiny little splashes. I don't know if you'll be able to see that on camera, but it does create like a nice little effect of the spray going over. I'm also going to take my brush here and I'm going to do a little bit deform, pulling up here. Again, keeping that same direction of where the waves going in mind. I'm adding a little bit more water this time because I know that it'll be a little bit more transparent. Then I take the same amount of water and start to pull it down here where we're going to be creating this form. Basically it's just a bunch of wiggly shapes. Creating triangles and then letting your brush move with the mind of its own. If you hold it back farther rather than close to the tip, your hand has less control and then you can get more or an organic shape, which can be like surprisingly hard to do even when you're trying to do it. I'm just adding some form that's here. It's a skinny oval shape. A tapered oval, I guess that's how I should say. Skinny as well. Take us around. This helps also flatten the illusion of the water that is not being pulled up into the wave. That's helpful as well. Make it pull up. Great. Then I'm just going to go in with my white pen, and refine these bits of foam a little bit. Because there aren't going to all be the same size. There's some wiggly like runaway foams up here. Then I also take my pen, and just go along the edge of the wave, to differentiate it as well as let it pull into the foam here. The actual spray. Then the last thing I'm going to do is just take my brush with a little bit of water in it, and a little bit of that slate gray, and go ahead and add those shadows back in here because they would be a little bit more pronounced. This is our Crashing Waves study. Next up we're going to keep moving along our scale of highest energy to lowest energy. We're going to do some calm or white cap waves that are horizontal and parallel towards the horizon, which is something you'd see on your regular day at the beach shown. It would be going along back here. Basically, the most important thing to remember about this is the perspective of the waves. If we're thinking about how as things get close to us, they are bigger. They're also more colorful and a little bit more detail. We have the most detail here, which would be this crashing wave, and then as we go along it gets smaller. I'm just going to keep this in mind here to remind me how big these wave should be. Then you can go ahead and sketch in some white caps, which just similar to our wave anatomy, are going along. In reality they're pretty much equidistant, but we're going to let them be a little bit smaller as they go back and back, because that will create a more realistic picture for your eye. When you get to the end, it's just like a little line. Here you have two choices. You can either go on with your masking fluid and then refine at the end or you can paint and then go with the gouache and I'm going to do the latter for the sake of drying time because I'm too impatient to wait about masking for it to dry. I rather like the effect both ways. If that's successful one way half plus any other, then I feel like I'm as well do the one that takes less time. I'm going to take that bright blue. I am going to first of all, just like try to avoid this first cap of the wave. I'm just making a squiggly line. Again, if you find it hard to have an organic line, you can hold your brush further away. I'm doing the same up here. They won't be distinct lines. They'll be going like half for each of these squiggly lines. As you go farther away, it's good to start in the front, because you get a little bit less color as you go farther back. You'll notice this next time you go to the water or you see a rooftop view, you'll notice how you get less color as you go back. I'm just dabbing my brush, and going along these ridges, and not filling in each point because we'll have each of those white caps. But if you accidentally go over it, it's okay. Because we're going to go back on what the gouache anyway. Already you can see the perspective, how we go back here. I'm going to fill this in a little bit more so it's not too confusing. Let this dry a bit and then come back for the next layer. I'll just darken up this area here. Show the direction of the wave. Do that as I go along. Then as I get farther out, I'm using the tip of the brush more and getting it lighter, as we go towards the horizon. The great thing about a round brush, is you can really get a gradient of line widths. If I press down on the way, I can get a nice thick shape. Then as I use more the tip of the brush, I can make it go tiny. The tininess is what we really use for back here. I'm just creating little oblong pointed ovals. These represent the faraway waves. I got a little bit too much water, I'm just going to dab that away there. To make these more detailed waves, you have to let it dry a little bit longer than I had. You can go either way and just build it up until you have more realistic looking sea. If your paint is spreading too much, you can let it dry a little bit more or use the blow dryer like I've been doing. Or if you get too big of a spot, you can dab it away. This ocean has really a lot about layering. You just have to keep going in with your dark colors. You really started with the white, so your leaving those spots. Those are your little white caps. Then you can bring in your darker blues, as your shadows, making those oblong shapes and having them layer like bricks. This is a technique that basically just comes with practice. If you are looking at different reference pictures, you'll see how each of the wave patterns fades backwards and still has that movement. You can see how my brushstrokes are getting smaller, both in diameter and width. I'm using more of the tip of the brush and also making shorter strokes. By the time I get up to the top, which I'm just about there, I'm just going to be doing little hair strokes, using the very tip of the brush. You can keep, of course, adding some contrast into this. If you go back in with the tip of your brush, and darker color, color with less water in it, you can add those shadows back in. Because it's not all going to be on the same shade throughout. I'm just going to add a couple more of the hair lines back here. Don't be afraid of that contrast because that's really what makes it pop. There we go. You can see how we have their gradients and our perspective of it moving away from us. We're not done yet though. We're going to go ahead and take our small brush again and do some little test. With a small brush and the white gouache, I'm just going to go in and I'm going to add some foam and similar to a mini version of the sky. Again, waves take a lot of different shapes. Looking at reference pictures is something I always suggest. Then I'm just going to take some white and have fleshed out these white caps that are going backwards a little bit more. I've got a line there, getting the line skinnier as we go out. Then once I get to the back, I will switch to my white pen and just use that to create some tiny white caps back there. There is our white caps far away sea. 6. studies: sparkling & sunset: Next we have the sparkling sea, which is a fan favorite so this one, you definitely want to use the masking fluid for, It doesn't work quite as well if you don't, and we're going to use a similar concept as this depth of field. So I'm going to start with some tiny dots in the background and almost becomes its own blob. Then as I get closer, I'm going to spread them out a little bit more and have them get big, bigger. Then get even bigger as we get into the foreground. So you get a gradient of dots. If you look at pictures of this or if you're like on a lake, you'll notice it has a perpendicular but still pattern, big brick type pattern. It has the mind of its own and sometimes there's sections where the wind is whipped up and there are a little bit more sparkles their, whole bunch of different things that can happen. While this is still wet, I'm going to take my small brush and just make some sparkle shapes out of the ones that are closer to me. I'm just pulling it out until it's cross shape and then having some little crossbars. Make sure you clean your brush after each one because they can get stuck and ruin your brushes. You can get some things that are specifically made for it, but I do not have that on hand currently. If you run out of masking fluid, you can always top it off. So rarely we're going to stick with the ones that are closer to us that are these actual sparkles. If we're using an actual reference pictures, you might have like a specific wave pattern that you'll have all over the place. So it's really up to you if you want to have more sparkles or less and you can even leave them as these dots. You don't have to draw them out like I'm doing here. We'll probably also go end with some white pen afterwards to really add some more shine. So if you don't love the way it's looking, hold on until the very end because there's always the white pen to save it. There are a few of them, and then I'm going to add a couple more. If you have a thin enough pen, you can also just use that to spread them out, but my pen is pretty thick, so I'm a little bit wary of doing that. Looks okay though. Pretty much the same technique that we used in my class on Painting Starscapes and Galaxies if you've taken that course. So same [inaudible] I'm going to let this completely dry before we move on to the painting process. Now that the fluid is dry, the process is pretty similar to the last Seascape that we did. So I'm going to take that blue, add a little bit of the yellow, and then I'm going to use a bit more of the water and start by creating thicker waves here, and I'm making this oblong shape. Then as I move backwards, have them get smaller and shorter. So already you can see it taking shape about how this is going to look. Tell where the sparkles land and you know, how the different parts work here. So generally I will go and I will actually, for the sparkling one's deepen up in between each of the wave shapes because you want the brightest part to be the sparkles. So this is like the outline of our sea and we're going to let this dry a little bit again, just not completely, most of the way and then add in some more contrast with the darker color. So I'm going back and on that same color with a little bit less water. I just noticed that this piece here somehow got away without any of the dark color. So am going to fill that in first and then I'm going to add a little bit of the slate and deepen up those waves that I created before. So these are a bit calmer waves, there's no white caps, there's just the sparkles, it's sort of like calm right in the beach. Despite looking pretty complicated, this one is actually the simpler than the others. As I'm moving back, I'm just getting lighter, smaller, shorter, all the diminutive. Then you can keep working this up. You can add more of the slate, keeping in mind that it's darker as it's closer to the viewer, or you can leave it as is and have more of a pastel look. But I always tend to think that a little bit more contrast helps the sparkles in particular to stand out a bit more. Again, I've noticed that a couple of these are a bit too big, so I'm going to go in with my paper towel and dab away here and I'll just give it a second short. Again, in this area too. You can take your brush and you can smoother any of the waves where you feel like they have a harsh line. If you're using reference picture, you'll notice where harsh lines fit and where they really need to be faded away and I'm just using a wet brush here with no paint on it. We'll let this dry completely and then we'll peel off masking fluid. So we have all over our little sparkles here and I'm just going to go in with my white pen and just give them a little bit more intensity or more line variation because right now they're fake because of the tip of my masking fluid. So I'm just extending some of these bigger sparkles and then adding some of those sparkling raise to some of the other ones. This really helps give the effect that it's really sparkling towards you. You can add a couple back here and add some more white closer to the horizon. You see anywhere where you feel like you missed a spot, you can always add it in with your pen, and if you don't feel like that is bright enough for you, you can go in with your gouache and just dab and a few more. I also feel like there's never too much, so it's easy to go overboard on this part. Here I'm going to add a little bit more to show that there are so many small bubbles here that it's almost like blended together until a blinding white and of course, like in a real illustration, you'd have your sides [inaudible] out. So it would be more even on the sides, or you would take more care to stay within the frame of whatever you're illustrating but in these studies it doesn't really matter, so we've got this nice hub sparkly study. Our next study is going to be pretty similar to this one, but a little bit calmer and then to add a little bit more interest we're going to do a reflected sunset rather than just our normal blues and greens. We're going to take a break from our palette and go to a new set of colors and I'm going to just mix in yellows and reds, and do a wash of the entire square with those colors. I'm starting out with like this cooler red and then I will have a lot of water on my brush, and I'm just going to make a little patch. Now that I have my base for where our waves will go, I'm going to add a little bit of yellow, just whatever sunset colors you'd like. Am going to add some pinks and purples as well and you want this to be a pretty smooth gradient so if you have any areas of granulation, you can scrub them out and if you are looking from a specific picture, you might have, say the sun in a certain spot, so you can add that in so you can see where the reflection of that light is versus the clouds and everything that is on the sides of it, that's what I'm doing here. I'm adding in some deeper reds too, it's just for study, so we can do whatever colors we want. I'm going to let this dry just like before, where it's still a little bit, just a little deep. So at this point, we can take our square brush and just dip it in water, no paint and then we can use that to scrub out some calmer waves and we're going to do the same shapes as we did before, having them be thicker as they're closer to you and if some paints not really coming up, you can help it along with your paper towel, just if you can twist it up so that it doesn't take away too much of the area, that works best. So you can see already those are making some nice highlights, and they do already give you that effect of the waves. You can also forgo this and just use your white pen at the end, which I'll probably go in for details anyway, but this is a fun technique and especially if you want to keep it simple, or if you'd like to keep it all watercolors, then this is a good technique to know. I'm just keeping them shorter when I get closer to the top, I'm also going to add a little bit more towards this line, this vertical line here that I have for the sun, because there's going to be a little bit more light there. If I were doing a full painting, I might add some sparkles on it as well. For the sake of the study, I'm just going to add in my little highlights. It's really important that you let your piece dry before you start rubbing out the highlights, or else as you use your paper towel, it'll just take everything out. The next step is we're going to go back to our round brush and we're going to mix up a dark blue, we are going to use that slate gray again with our dark blue and this will work for our wave shadows. So we'll just go wherever we've done the scrubbed out highlights, and go underneath those, keeping in mind the same strokes that we've done here. Keeping them darker, and more colorful, and larger as they're closer to the viewer, and then fading out as you go back and this works with whatever colors you have, whether you have like [inaudible] skies or really dark skies, basically the water reflects however the sky looks. You can do any colors that you'd like. Mine are bleeding a little bit, so I'm going to go ahead and let this dry before I keep adding in my details. So as I get back here, I'm just going to use the very tip of the brush and make little alternating strokes. At this point I have a little bit less pigment on my rush as I did in the front, it helps give you that sense of a depth, like it's going far away from you. The other good method to use, or the other good thing about using the square brushes, is that if you make mistake at this point of the painting, you can go ahead and rub out the mistakes, it's works up like an eraser, but just be careful that you don't run but too much on your paper, especially if you're using a lower quality paper, because it can end up ripping especially if you are using lots of water. Then, I'm going to go in with a deeper color and just deepen up my shadows that are closer to the viewer, because I'm not really happy with the amount of contrasts that there is. You can see at this point how we really have water looking effect. So, let that dry and come in with the wet pencil or the white pen, excuse me. We're going to go ahead and we can take it in on the top of these dark splotches, just so you can tell where the shadow begins and where the edge of the wave is, and that's just the reflection that's coming in. You can also go into the light part of the waves, add in some sense of movement and then I also like to go in the back here and just create some small lines, because it's difficult to scrub away with the r-square brush in a small enough line to make it look believable. There we have a calmer ocean that is reflecting sunsets. 7. studies: tropical water & calm reflections: Next step we are going to go into tropical water, or almost like how it looks when you see a pool. I started out with the really bright blue, and add in a bit of green to that. We're going to make a nice gradient. This is basically just the blue paint. Then I'm going to add splotches of sea green. Then I'm going to deepen up some of the areas to look where I didn't have the green. That's the highlighted spots. We're just going to let that dry and then come in with the gouache. I've actually dried this completely, so that our white on gouache can show all the way through because if it's still a little bit wet, it will bleed away like it did when we did the phone appear. To start out, I'm going to take my tiny brush, and we're going to do the refracting light patterns on top of the water. Basically what they are, are some wiggly oval-shaped. I'm going to start out just like in the corners and holding my brush a little bit further back, wiggle my brush to create that reflected pattern. I'm just making wiggly ovals that are all connecting in different ways. There are different sizes too, so I'm going in with some smaller ones and some larger ones. They don't really ever have symmetrical borders. You can copy as I'm doing here, or you can look at a reference image, and copy the way their shapes are going. I'd recommend too, that if you can either go in person or take a video, and then work from that because that can really help you learn how to make the shapes. It also becomes muscle memory after you've been working on it. Same with doing a phone, it's a very similar process. I'm thinking that looks pretty good. We're not going to be done yet because we'll do some more like fine details of the light. After this dries a bit more with the white pen. But before we do that, I'm going to add some shadows that fall underneath all of these. They don't fall exactly as you would expect. They're not like right underneath each line, it's like the light is on top, and the shadow is on the bottom of the pool, or the bottom of the water or whatever it is. Rather than doing that in its exact movement. I just take this light line right here. I'm going to make my shadow a little bit farther underneath. You can see how that line kind of works through the water and creates that sense of depth. I'm just going to do that all over. This have to be exact. It's just one of those things where as long as you keep it away from where your eye would expect it to be, which is right underneath. Then you can get that effect. I tend to hold my brush closer when I'm doing this work because I worry that I'm going to just get too close, or move my brush too far away. I like to have a little bit more control when I'm doing this. I do like to have more water though, like you can see here, this one got a bit dark so I'm taking a little bit water, and just rubbing it out. Then I'm going to go in with my paper towel and that helps because they're soft once you get into the shadows. Softer than the light is anyway. We're going to let this dry completely. Now, we're going to go back in with our white pen and we're going to create the webbing that goes in between each of these, because they're not really just straight lines. They spider out as they get close to each other and the lines are getting really thick and really thin. They're not so thick everywhere. Just take my pen. I'm adding little triangles in between these in spreading them out. They look a little bit more spidery. Some areas I'll add a thin line to that. It's almost its own circle, or add what looks like a highlight, just like a squiggle in more of the middle. I'm going basically in every corner to add some feathery lines. Here we have some tropical water. For our final study, we're going to do some of the ultimate calm water when you have a complete reflection. We're going to go ahead and stick with our blues, but basically just start with some sky and some water. This works really well if you're doing a sunset or dawn painting as well. I'm just going to do a swatch here. This is when the water is completely flat like glass. I'm dipping it up a little bit. More saturation, then I'm going to take my paper towel, and I'm going to pull it up so that there's a good texture. Then I'm going to use this for clouds, and then I'm going to do the same thing underneath on this bottom-half of the painting. I'll let this dry, and then we'll come in to do some more features to be reflected. Now, that's drying, I'm going to go in with a darker blue. We're going to create the horizon line right here. We're going to do some just little trees or just going to create some little pulled up bits here. That suggests that there's trees along the horizon. You want to keep them varying heights and start with your brush towards the horizon and pull it up. Then as you get towards the top, apply less pressure so that you have that tapering. Then you're going to take that same exact color and create the same exact pattern on the other half. I'm just trying to mimic it as best as I can. You can already see how this effect works. I'm going to add in some details, I'm actually going to take that tiny brush again, and add some more branches in here to the taller trees. Just messing them up so they're not perfect triangles. Before we let this dry, I'm going to take the square brush again and dip into that same color, and we're going to use this along the water just to create some thin lines. Maybe the wind blew a tiny bit and just create just a few ripples across this seascape. This works well too to rub out some of the color here and create some highlights. Now, we're going to let this dry and then come back with white pen. Now, we're going to take our white pen and we're going to do basically the same thing. But first, we're going to mark out the horizon line again because it's faded away at this point. Then we're going to go ahead and add in some ripple lines with the white pen. Now, I've got that nice glassy effect and a good reflection. Those are all of our studies. 8. paint a full sea !: We have some skills up our sleeve. We're going to go from start to finish in a complete painting. I've already masked away the edges of my paper so that when we peel them off, we'll have a nice clean edge. I'm using a thicker paper now, this is a 300 pound, a 100 percent cotton paper. You can use the same mix media pad that we were using before, or excuse me, the Canson lower weight watercolor pad, but I find that using the thicker paper is better if you're going to do a painting that involves lots of water. But you can use whatever you want, or you could have used this paper for your studies as well. It's just a matter of how much money you want to spend. To start out, we're going to do our pencil sketch first and I'm going to just do the horizon line. Then we're basically going to be incorporating a few of the skills that we've done. Over here, we'll have just the regular slightly wavy seas and then we're going to have some sparkles over in this area. I'm not going to sketch there because we'll use our masking fluid. Then as you get closer it's going to get larger. We're going to have one wave that is picking up and starting to crash over, and then a layer thick foam here. Then wet sand with bits of foam pulling out towards the shore. It's not a very complex drawing, but I will be sure to show you the finished piece when it's complete so that you can use that to inform your drawing as you draw in pencil. But to start out, I'm going to go back and with the masking fluid and make it just some small dots over here. The masking fluid's dried out, so I'm going ahead and use the brush. I'm just taking my small brush, and dipping it into the masking fluid, and starting here with some small dots. These are just going on horizon and I'm just doing them in a random pattern, almost like brick laid. The good thing about using a brush for masking fluid too is that, it dries a lot quicker because there's less of a big blob of fluid. Then as we get closer to the shoreline, I'm increasing the size of my dots by just adding a little bit more pressure to my brush. As I get here, I create my larger size sparkles and then add in a few of those cross beams like we did with the studies. Again, you can always do this with the acrylic, or the white gouache at the end, but I prefer to do a little bit of both. I feel like it gets the best effect. I'm just going to add some sparkle lines, for lack of a better term. There's a few other spots where the light is really catching, so we're going to add a couple more sparkles like that are just fading out from here. Then add a few to the top of this wave where it's starting to curl over. It's basically in this little space here. A little bit on top of that. Again right here, where it's starting to pull over. Then I'm going to add just some here, even though there's form all over this place, I think I'm going to use my white gouache for that, as I feel like it gives a better effect of laying on the top. I'm just going to use this for the thickest parts of the foam that I really want to remain white. I'm just going along this edge here. I'm going to do the same on the other layer of foam. That's masking fluid complete. Your first order of business now is to clean your brush, because the stuff will ruin your brush. I've said once, I've said it a million times, don't use a brush that you really love for using masking fluid because that stuff is potent. Now that we're waiting for the masking fluid to dry, we're going to do with the sky quickly. I'm going to take a wet brush and wet this entire top area above the horizon. I'm not using a ton of water here, just enough to give the paper a little bit shine if I look at it at an angle. Then I'm going to pick up that same pale blue that we've been using for the studies, and I'm just going to drop that in randomly and wiggle my rush around to make suggested clouds. We don't want them to be too complicated because, we want the sea to be the main focus, so I'm just adding them, and leaving some wet spots. Because where you don't paint is where the clouds are existing. Then I'm going take my crumpled up paper towel and just dab away some of the areas to create some more clouds. You could also just do a flat blue here, but I like to have a little bit more dimension. I'm just going to go in and add a little bit more shadows. Again, with clouds, it's similar to what we've been talking about with the perspective of the waves. These clouds up here are going to be bigger and then as you come closer to the horizon line, they're getting farther away so they get smaller. Although it depends on a lot of factors, so you want to make sure you stay true to your reference picture for believability. I'm just going to add a little bit more color on the top here, and then I'll leave this card to dry, and it looks like our masking fluid is just about there. We can start on this area here, but we want this area to completely dry before we start going or else it will bleed into the sky. To start out, we're going to make some sienna color. I'm going to use a brick red color and then a yellow and add in some of that slate gray color. It's nice to have a cooler color because when you're working with the sand, usually you're going to be showing parts of it that are wet. I'm going to start out and use that new brown color in this corner, this is where the sand with no water is, and I'll give that a few seconds to dry before I go back in and do the rest here. I'll take wet brush over along this line as well, and add some more of this color, and let it pull over and to our corner here, but stopping before the edge because that's going to be all white foam. A lot of panting ocean is waiting for things to dry so that you can have a crisp line versus one that bleeds into it like what we did with the clouds. I'm just deepening up this color a little bit. Again, using that slight gray to tone down the warmth, and I'm adding a little bit more towards this edge here because there's a little bit of a shadow that happens from the thumb, so that place gets extra depth. Then I do the same here. It's a little bit too wet now, but I will do that when it dries out a little bit more. It's good to have some variations so it's not just one flat color because there's rocks and different colors of sands and all that sort of thing, so I like to just move my brush along and leave some of it that lighter color. I'm thinking this could be a little bit cooler tones, so I'm going to go in with some of that blue and mix up a little bit more, and just add that, and this will function as part of what the foam structure is, the watery part of it. We'll let that dry. We can go ahead and test up here to see if the sky is ready for us. It seems like it's pretty good. I'm going to take that same blue color, the light blue, but I'm going to mix in a little bit more of the slate-gray than normal because usually towards the horizon, there's a little sliver of darkness. Let me start my horizon with that. If you make a mistake, don't panic, you can go ahead and take your paper towel and just water it away. Watercolors says a lot about having the imperfections anyway, so it adds a little bit of character. We're going to take a wet brush, and the light blue that we've been using and just pull it away from the horizon to get our base color. If you have trouble getting a straight line on horizon too, and that really bothers you, you can also take their after your sky is completely dry, just make sure it's a 100 percent dry or else it will peel your sky off when you peel the tape off. At least now we're getting the tops of our set of waves that are curling over. I'm going to hold the paint above that and not let it go over it because we're going to have some areas of transparency like in our curling wave study. We're going to go into that wave and we're going to mix in some of that transparent green into our blue, where the light will be pulled up, and add that in here. This is a smaller wave than we've done before, but the technique is still the same. I'm just taking my brush and I'm going to move it in the direction that the wave is going, and just pull it along here, so you have the cohesive nature of all the colors. I'm just blending this out with a clean brush with just water on it, but I'm going to make sure I stop before the sand because I don't want those colors to blend together. You can already see how the water looks there, it's starting to come together already, which is always fun. I'm going to go in with that blue and add more of the slate color to shadow underneath the wave. It's proper here then it starts to pull up, and again with a wet brush, I'm just using that to manipulate the paint to go in the direction of the wave, great. I'm going to get hairdryer to this and let it dry completely so we can go onto the next layer. We're ready for our next layer now, I'm going to go in with more of the blue, a little bit more of that slate gray into it, and start up here with our tiny little wave, so I'm just using the very tip of the brush, and these will be our smallest ones, and I'm again doing that bricking pattern of having them alternate every other row, and I'm going to bring this all along over to where the sparkles will be, and then start on my next row adding a little bit more pressure so that these waves are a bit bigger as they come towards the viewer, and then repeat that coming up to this rising line. Next, we are going to use that same color, that blue with a bit of slight green extend, and I'm going to add just a little bit of navy to brighten it up or not brighten it up to have it be higher saturation. We are going to add some colors to this little bit of a wave that's coming towards us, so we are just going to be doing those same shade but instead of having them be perpendicular to each other, or parallel, we are going to have them move with the current of the wave, so they're going this way instead of going this way. Does that makes sense? In some of these areas they are still going in that same direction, but I'm just bringing them closer to our waves and having a little bit more movement here. Again, adding more saturation as you get closer to the shoreline helps you add a little bit more depth there too. Here I'm going to stick with those parallel stripes. I'm going to go ahead with that color and add a little bit more so there's little bit less of a harsh transition from that slight grade, so this brighter blue. Next, we are going to wet our brush a little bit and then pull this so that there is a harsher line between our pulled up wave and that of next layer. We are going to let that dry a little bit and work on this area here. Well, dust show. I'm going to go back and with our sand color and add that now, and I can go right over this because we have the masking fluid there, very handy, and I'm going to stay away from this corner more because it's going to be more of a blue reflecting the sky. But right here is where it starts to being picked up by the waves so it's going to be a little bit more of the sandy color. I'm just going to take wet brush and blend that in. Bring it up into the wave, come over here and an adapt this away a little bit more. It's a little too saturated for me and I'm going to go in with the blue there. Oops, too much blue. There we go. This is reflecting the sky here. Now I'm going to go in with a darker blue, that's slight blue color and I'm going to add in the shadows here to the wave that's pulling over. I'm just adding them underneath where it's being pulled over and then I'm going to do it underneath of the little foam sparkles, and then again here where it's mark completely darkened. I'll leave a little edge there where this wave is separated from the next layer. Just using a wet brush and breaking up those harsh edges. You can see how you're getting your nicely pull from here until the next wave, which is always something that can be a little bit tricky to do. I'm going to take that dark blue again, and I'm going to start carving out some layers of the foam here, so this will be where the water is reflecting the sky and versus being foamy. We'll color in with our gouache on the other part of that. I don't mind this part to be still a little bit wet and soft because I feel like it's a little bit more realistic. I'm going to get this to dry and then add in some more texture here. Now, this is a bit drier, I'm just going to take in that color and add some more wave texture here. Just using those same oval strokes, and then I'm going to take my brush and just pull them out a little bit so they're a little bit more diffused. Mark some here as well, and the next thing we're going to do is paint a bit of the flexion here. We'll create the line first, so this is where the line is being or, sorry, the wave where that is being pulled up. This is like our mini horizon. We can take some of that pale blue, put the transparent green color, I'm going to add some of that underneath. That's going to be our reflection. Once we go into with our white, will do the same. At this point you can start to take stock of how everything is looking as hokey, we have our mascot fluid which will look brighter once we peel it off. But I'm thinking that it's a little bit to white in this area here, so I'm going to go back in with a lighter wash of that pale blue. I'm just adding water to it, and I'm going to go over this line here so I can fill on those areas that are a little bit too white for my taste. I'm just going to pull it up here so that it's all cohesive and blended together. Now at this point I'm just going to deepen things up and add a little bit more detail where I need to, but for the most part, you'll notice that watercolors, as they dry, they become a little bit less saturated, so I usually like to take a little bit of a break and then see how it's looking as it's drying because there's usually some changes to be made. I'm just going to layer it up a little bit more where I feel like there could be some more color. I'm adding some of the slip blue, I'm just using this to put a shadow underneath where the foam layers will be. Now that these areas are dry, these layers don't blend together and it has better shadow effect. We're going to let this dry completely and then come and take off the masking fluid. Now that our masking fluid is peeled off, you can see we've got some good sprinkles going and I'm going to go in with my small brush and then like wash, and I'm going to start to flesh out more of the details. I'm adding a little bit of water to it and I'm going to start by adding some scratchy highlights here, so I mask my brush up a little bit so that they don't create solid lines. You can also use an old brush for this if you prefer. With a little bit more water, it's more transparent so it doesn't create such a harsh line length we're going to want when we get to the sparkles. I'm going to stop before I get to the top because we're going to use the light pen for that so we can have the nice thin lines. Then I'm going to go into our wave here and I'm going to add some bits of foam coming up into the wave, and then I'm going to add some more dots here. Just add those foam sprays in. I'm also going to highlight this edge of the wave, that's where it's getting the sun, and I'm going to just add some foam to the tops of these waves as well. I'm going to take that same brush and add more water, and we're just going to add that reflection in, the reflection of the foam. Do the same over here. It's settled, that's pretty nice, I think. I'm going to go ahead and start working on the foam patterns, so I'm using a little bit less water, less time, and I'm going to hold my brush farther away so I can get more natural patterns and create those little oval shapes. Then as you get closer to the wave, you can add some smaller ones that are getting started into the foam patterns. Then once I get here, I'm going ahead and adding more foam, blending in to that curve as it comes closer to you. This is where the thick foam, and it's basically white. If you're having trouble making these different foam patterns, you can just take a look at a bunch of different reference pictures and zoom in on a tiny part in practice until your hand gets the feeling of it. It's not something that just comes in time. There's not really a way to describe the shapes that they make besides just being wiggly and messy. Again, I'm just adding some foam here. Once my brushes a little bit used up, I'm going to add some more here that's pulling into this rolling area. Then as I get over here, I'm actually going to make some of our blue because this is farther away from the eye, is going to be a little bit duller. I'm going to do the same thing with this here, but this foam is more spread out because it's been pulled apart of that more because it's been in and out from the surface. Instead of making tiny, it's where the lines, I'm going to spread them out so that there's more of the sand showing through. Doing similar patterns as the ripples we did in the tropical water study. They do end up looking pretty similar shapes. They're holes that are being pulled around and have that spidery effect. If you can get that down, we can probably get this down as well. I'm trying not to use too much water because you can see it starts to fade away, as it dries which can be nice if that's effect you're gone for about, I'm wanting some bright whites here. As you get closer to here or going to make sure these foam bits are smaller because it's further away from your eye. It's like you're standing here and looking out. We want these pieces to be the biggest and the most spread out because as they get closer together or as they get farther away, they appear to be closer together. I'm using a fairly dry brush now. That scratchy edge works pretty well for a foam. It can also be helpful to use an old brush for this thing. The more you mess up your brush them more realistic, your foam ends up looking. I don't usually take a reference picture in and use it exactly what I'm doing foam like us because it's easy to get lost in the specific details of each piece of the foam. At the end of the day, that's not really what you're painting is about. It's more about the feeling of being there and being at the beach and smelling the ocean and the salts and everything. You don't want to be too focused on every distinct bubble and your foam. Unless that's what you prefer. No judgment. Just not my personal preference to spend my time doing that versus working on the sparkles, which is the most fun. As I started to get here, it starts to bunch up a little bit more. I'm just going to add some foam spray and then have a little bit tighter foam here. Keeping that in mind, the way that this is flipping over so it's flat and then it starts to turn as you get closer to the edge. Just noticing some spots that have dried down a little bit less saturated than I prefer. I'm going to go back in with my brush and just tighten them up. Great. Now we're going to move onto our white pen. Don't put your pallet away yet because, we'll still do some touch shots at the end. But since this is still wet am going to start up here, just like in our study and make these tiny [inaudible] it's to these waves. Just flow them down just in a random pattern where the light is sketching. We can do some sparkles. I'm going to add some more in the top here because you can't really see any of the tiny dots that I did because they pulled away more paper than I was hoping. I'm just going to add them in here. I don't mind them, but once you get over here because they're just so concentrated that they are taking away all the color there. It's just so sparkling though you can't even see in between the borders. I'm going to use my pen to add some of the sparkle lines. I'm just going to pick this randomly and then squint my eyes to see if where I've placed it is looking good. If I don't like it, I can always just dab it away with my finger because it's just a dab pencil until it dries, it's pretty malleable. I'm looking at how that looks. I'm going to take this pen and go over this wave line here. Just pretty delicately like that stroke isn't too important. Then I'm going to just trace over the top of this here. We've lost the top of that wave here. We'll go back in with our paints to fix that. Then just go ahead and add in some of the flat strokes here, so you can really get a sense of this being flat and being pulled up. Saying here, and add some more delicate pieces to the foam. Just like we did in this study. Just pulling them around here where we have are thicker lines that come together and then are a little bit more spidery as they come up. Keeping in mind still the direction of the water. This part here is flat and then it dips over the last flip. This is when it starts to become very realistic. We're just about done so far, our last bit of detail, we're going to go back to our palette and just darken things up where they need to be and make sure everything is popping out the way we'd like it to be. I'm going to go in with my small brush still and go on with that slate gray. I'm going to first pull this down because it's gotten lost in the painting and I'm using still a dry brush so that we have that scratchy look. I'm going to do the same over here. I'm also going to darken up under that wave. Also going to take some of that blue and then add in some shadow this foam. So like the bottom layer of the foam whether would be less light, just dark, giving that up. We will take some of that slate gray, water that. I'm going to darken this area because it's pulling my eye when I look at it. I'm going to go ahead and dark in this whole area actually is my larger brush. I just felt like it was the first thing I looked at because it was so light here. I want the first thing you look out to be the transparent area of this wave and then the sparkles. This just as pointed out. Then look more slate gray and my small brush I'm just going to add in some shadows where the foam is. That adds that last realistic punchy need. I don't have them everywhere. I just the men where there seems to be a big area where there's not a lot of texture between the foam and the next piece of foam. I'm going to add the same shadows here. This is the part where you can basically mess with it forever. But I think this pieces is complete. We'll go ahead and take the tape off, which was the best part. Oh yeah nice clean line. Remember to sign your piece. 9. outro & project: You've made it to the end of the class. Congratulations. For the class project. I'd love to see seascapes that you create, whether you go step-by-step with one I've done with you, or if you choose your reference picture and then create your own painting from that, be sure to tag me at [inaudible] if you post on social media and I can't wait to see you in the next class. Thank you.