Thursday, February 9, 2017

Painting a seascape

I just finished working on a seascape. I must admit I'm not a specialist, but every now and then I give it a try. In this case the reason was a commission. Though I was quite content with the result, the buyer rejected it. Turned out after all he wanted a beachscape. I should've made an oil sketch, like I usually do...

Evening Surf, oil on panel, 13.8 x 39.4"

Painting waves is a real joy. The best part is painting the foam. You can let the paint do the work. The painting technique I use always depends on what I'm painting and when painting foam I can go all the way in using impasto techniques. No need to smooth out my brush strokes (like in for example the blue of the sky). The texture only adds to the dynamic of the wave rolling over.

Because this is an evening scene I get to paint lovely warm accents with lots of paint on my brush. Still, it's not all impasto. Glazing can be very useful here as well. For the shadow part of this wave I used a glaze of transparent white mixed with ultramarine and a bit of sepia. Works great.

But like I said, I'm not a specialist. Maybe you should take a look at the work of a real seascape painter like David Smith (


  1. Although your site is called "Painting Skies", I must disagree with your statement that you are not a seascape specialist - Your oceans are amazing and play a perfect supporting role to your glorious skies!
    I also want to thank you for that link to David Smith's site, which was a timely discovery for me because I'm currently working on a painting for a friend who wants a view of the ocean. Similar to the person who had commissioned the painting you mentioned in this post, she wants the emphasis on the pebbly part of the beach with a low perspective view of the ocean, and just a small portion of sky showing at the top. So, David's paintings were certainly inspiring for this particular composition. I have no doubt that your beautiful seascape will soon find a very appreciative buyer. Again, many thanks for your regular updates - I always look forward to seeing your latest works and reading your helpful advice. I'm so happy to be a part of your "sky" tribe!

  2. Thanks Gayle, for your encouraging words. I must say (even though I still feel I have a lot to learn about seascapes) I'm really looking forward to making another one.
    Good to hear the David Smith link was helpful. I'll let him know. Curious about your wave painting!

  3. Janhendrik, you are far too modest about your skills as a seascape painter. I always feel that there's much to learn from everything you do. Thanks for the link to my site. As always, you're very generous.

  4. Thank you, David, you're welcome. Love your seascapes.

  5. Ravishing seacapes. I must say you are a great painter, you might be not specialist but you skills are enough to make you expert. Thums up

  6. Thank you for your kind words. Very encouraging.