There is just something relaxing to walk barefoot on the beach…..the warmth of the sand and its smooth texture underfoot, the rush of the wind, the spray of the waves, the scent of the ocean - salty, fishy and fresh, the sound of the waves and the seagulls mixed in with laughter of children at play……
So, if we can’t be there at least we can capture that moment on canvas!
Since this painting shows only a person from mid-thigh down, it is easy for everyone to project themselves into the painting as the one walking on the beach and experiencing all the sensations that image evokes.
The painting above is an acrylic on canvas using primarily a palette of blues and greens.
Canvas – I used a 16 x 20 stretched canvas.
Acrylic paints: A basic set of acrylic paints which may include the following colors:
Note: The paint list is large; however, this can be decreased by purchasing “flesh tint” for the legs and feet. Also, you may want to limit the shades of colors used in the water and the jeans. This painting can be achieved with a basic set of acrylic paints.
How to make flesh tint:
Mixing the colors to make flesh tint may seem challenging; however, it can easily be accomplished by mixing the following primary colors:
The various shades can be adjusted by adding white and/or increasing/decreasing the amount of one of the other primary colors to perfect the tone you would like.
A word of caution: Do not use black to deepen the skin tone; it can add a greenish tint to the color.
Sketch the drawing on the canvas with minimal details. You will only need the sand/ocean horizon line and the shape of the knees, legs and feet. The details will be painted in after the basic background has been painted in.
Background: Ocean/Waves and Beach
Starting at the top of the painting with the deepest of your blue tones, work down the painting mixing and blending the various shades and colors of blue from deepest at the top to lightest at the shoreline. Mix green into the water at the top third of the painting, but let the blue show through. Do not paint in a straight line across, but vary the line to indicate the shape of the wave and the movement of the water. I used a flat brush to put down the basic coat of paint and worked back in with a round brush swirling the paint to give movement. Add touches of white paint to show wave breaks or ”white tops.”
Prepare a mix of paint for the sand using raw sienna mixed with white and a touch of yellow. Vary the intensity of the color by increasing and decreasing the amount of white. Where the sand and beach meet, swirl in white paint with a round brush where the waves hit the shore.
I allowed the background to dry somewhat so that then I painted the main part of the painting, I was not worried about smearing this paint into the other parts of the painting.
The jeans can be any “wash” of denim you would like. I used a darker denim to contrast and stand out from the ocean. However, depending on how dark your ocean may be a light wash might be what is needed. Base your denim shade on what shade your ocean turned out.
Using a flat brush lay down your basic jean color working lighter and darker shades of the same color into create highlights, creases and wrinkles as well as the rolled up cuff. Remember the rolled up cuff of the jean leg will be slight lighter than the outside of the pant leg.
Legs and Feet:
Using your flesh tones either mixes or purchased paint, put in a base coat using a flat brush and work in darker and lighter shades of that tone to show shadows and highlights. Remember this does not have to be details, create a feeling of movement – you are not painting every toe.
Deepen the areas of sand around the feet using a flat brush and pulling the paint from deepest near the foot to lighter as it moves out in a horizontal line. Add lighter and darker sand tones as well as white on the sand for highlights and shadows.
Look over the rest of your painting and add highlight or touches of color here and there as needed.
Congratulations! Sign your name; your painting is complete. Now look at the painting and hear the sound of the waves and feel the sand under your feet…………………