The undulations of the waves are made perceptible by the shadows and sea foam floating on the surface and, by the rocks that shape and interrupt that surface. Here is a step-by-step progression of two wave paintings in oil. I show how I simplify and distill the theme, the palette, the underpainting, the photo that initiated my idea and, I explain the tools and techniques I used to achieve the final versions. In the first example, I use two blues, ultramarine ( Old Holland)and azure blue(Sennelier), Imperial green(Charvin, similar to viridian), transparent red oxide, Quinacridone fuchsia (Charvin) and titanium white.
example 3. The first application of blues and greens. Darker more saturated color is deposited at the bottom of the picture. I tilt the horizon to amplify the experience of the wave motion. I will use a serpentine design to wind your way back and across the picture.
example 4. I selectively delete the surface paint to reveal the orange below which locates the rock shapes. They will channel attention back toward the curved breaking wave. The wave is curved to direct attention further back and across the painting.
example 5. I blend in milky light blues to the water surface to suggest more light in specific areas. I deepen color on the bottom to create a dark threshold to cross over into the painting. I add darkened texture to the rock shapes.
example 6. The wave foam pattern is applied lightly with a 1/2 inch synthetic sable. Up to this point all paint has been applied with a two inch, synthetic sable, watercolor wash brush. I also now use a 1″ synthetic watercolor wash brush as well to find shadows in the waves and to sharpen the rocks’ edges.
example 8. This is the photo used for the second example. Note that I will compress the composition to fit a square format, I will move the central rock to the right, I will imply larger submerged rocks which will build more of an opportunity to show waves folding over rocks. I will further foreshorten the flat pool at the bottom of the painting. I will eliminate the highest wave explosion. It’s redundant. I will create a stronger incline of flow into the foreground wave pool to create more depth in the painting.