Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ocean Wave Painting Demo - Step By Step

I am really surprised at how many people have asked me to do a post on a wave demo. Actually a lot of the requests were for a DVD but I don't have the resources for that right now. 
I may do a short Youtube video soon,  after I finish up a few other projects.

This is a 4 x 8 inch study for the large 18 x 32 I have posted.

The above was painted in ten minutes. I block in the big shapes very quickly.
Even though it is very different than painting a still-life, many of the principals are the same. Starting with big shapes for example, and than working on the smaller ones later.

Above is how it looked after about twenty minutes.
It's amazing how much I have learned about painting by being forced not to rely on drawing first!

The above stage was after about an hour of work.
This demo was painted all in one sitting, wet into wet. Unlike my still-life paintings which are painted in layers, and have to dry before moving onto the next layer.


I think that the most important aspect of a painting is that it "feels" like the subject. I try never to paint everything the same way, but instead to paint it, in an appropriate manner to what it is. I wouldn't use wild and free brush strokes on a still-life and I also don't think a wave painting should be drawn in a mechanical way before beginning to paint. Of course that is just my opinion.

I am not going to mention the colors that I use in this post.
I will do a separate blog post on the colors I use in painting waves really soon though.
 There is only so much time I allow myself per post.
The whole painting took about three hours to get to the point above.
The study is 4 x 8 Oil on Panel

 Above is the framed finished painting. "Foam And Spray" 18 x 32 Oil on Linen
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!


  1. Did you paint the final painting alla prima also? How long did the final take to complete?

    1. No Jose, The final painting is an 18 x 32, huge compared to the tiny study. It took almost two weeks to finally complete.

  2. Thank you so much!!! So you are not using any reference photo - this is just from your study/memory of wave action? Amazing. They are so beautifully done. I look forward to the palette info and the YouTube video.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I am working from photo reference but I take a great many liberties. I think photos should be used when absolutely necessary, and only as a reference. I am not fond of paintings which just look like copied photographs...Color part coming hopefully this weekend!

  3. Thanks Clinton. A great post. Interesting to see the process here. Look forward to hearing what colours you used.

    1. Thank you!
      Should be ready to post sometime this weekend. Now that I said it, I guess I had better do it!

  4. Thanks for sharing. Wonderful paintings. I also look forward to your post on colors.

  5. Hi, I am a huge fan. Just wondering........what tool do you use for your sketch?