Last Tuesday’s watercolor class was centered on learning how to paint ocean waves. I’ve done those in the past using oil colors, but watercolor is handled so much differently. A few techniques I could transfer, but most of the them I couldn’t.
In this practice painting I lost much of my whites and the proper direction of the waves because I was concentrating too much on the technique. Great practice though. I figured out how to get a similar effect of light coming through a cresting wave that I used to get with oils.
The two main tricks I learned could be used for any body of water with active waves. One is just kind of using strokes in an open-ended figure eight.
The second trick is to twist several lengths of paper towel. Then you wet the paper and lay down a wash of the base color you want–in this case, Cobalt Blue. Then before the paint dries, you place the paper twists where you want to have cresting white waves. The twist lifts some of the color, leaving a nice foamy wave. After the paint dries a little, but not totally, you paint darker color underneath the white to get the shadows.
At this point, I dropped in a little Phthalocyanine Green and Blue and pulled a twist down the wave to blend all three colors. Once the paint dried totally, I lifted a little color in the same areas and then added some Aureolin Yellow to get the effect of light. A bit of a clumsy technique at the moment, but with practice, I think I can do some cool effects with it.