ON THE ROCKS – Going To My Happy Place

It’s hotter than Holy Hell in South Texas today. And yesterday, and tomorrow. The only cure I have is to retreat to my happy place – somewhere on a beach where the waves are breaking on the rocks and the wind blows salt spray in my face. Come along with me and let’s forget this hot, dry sauna and relax on the beach a while.

I painted this on sheet of 11″ x 15″ Strathmore cold press, 140-lb watercolor paper. I used a #8 Filbert Brush, with a medium sized fan brush for the foam.

First, I sketched out the composition, using a soft pencil.

Next, I painted the sky with a mixture of Ultramarine Blue, Dioxazine Purple and Titanium White. While the paint is wet, using a clean damp brush, I formed cloud shapes, a horizon line and some beginning wave formations.

Mixing a little of this purple mixture with Burnt Sienna, I began to paint the rocks, trying to decide where will the lift come from. I think the left side will be where I place the light on these rocks, so I work more dark into the right side of my painting.;

Adding a little white to the mixture, I begin painting the left side of my rocks, and then scrape over them with the flat end of my paint tube to give them texture. Anything firm and flat will do the job.

Using white and burnt sienna, I begin painting in some sand in the foreground. I add a little of the lavender/sienna mixture to suggest another large rock in the right foreground.

With white and gloss medium, I swirl my brush to create a few more definite clouds, then I mix Hunter Green, white and blue to begin planning the wave action. Notice the “lazy x’s” giving a sense of movement in the background water, behind the foaming wave I am beginning to paint in the midground.

Notice I pulled a little of the blue mixture into the tide pool in the foreground of my painting. Also, see how the darker blue/green up against the white waves gives a feeling of depth. Placing the darkest values against the lightest gives more texture and depth to any surface. Let this dry thoroughly.

Working again on the rocks, I add raw sienna, some of the light purple mix and white, then scrape again to give my rocks more texture.

I added some small rocks in the shallow water, and softened the water in the background by adding white waves over the “lazy x’s”. I also realized the rocks ended too abruptly, so painting in a more gradual incline in the large rocks on the right.

With my white mixed with gloss medium, I used a fan brush to drag the foam over the breaking wave. I also suggested froth in the foreground and ripples in the tide pool, gently pulling the fan brush forward across the little rocks in the foreground. Mixing burnt sienna, green and purple, I deepened the shadows between the rocks, and also darkened the water directly in front of and under the large wave. Adding a little deep green/purple mix makes my wave actions more real, too.

Adding Alizaron Crimson, Blue, Purple and Hunters Green warms up my painting and make a believable image. I think I’ll put my bare feet in the water and cool down. Enjoy!


3 Responses to “ON THE ROCKS – Going To My Happy Place”

  1. It appears you really did get away! This painting looks quite inviting! Good to see you up and creating…………


  2. Awesome Job, Shirley! I LOVE it! I’ve been doing my homework today but clearly, I’ve got a long way to go… (:o


    • Thanks, Sherry – it was such fun and YOU were my inspiration on this one. We’ll work on it tomorrow, or the one you have in your book. It is such fun.


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