9" x 12"
A watercolor painting
Karen A. Cooke
Temperatures are unusually warm in my part of the Unites States for this time of the year….these warmer temperatures make me think about the beach. My watercolor painting, Beach Trail, was painted from a photo I took last year on vacation to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The boardwalks over to the beach are usually always surrounded by sea oats and offer a glimpse of the ocean and the beach and hint of the fun to come!
Let’s get started with our painting!
Watercolor paper – size of your choice. I used a 9” x 12” piece of Arches 140 lb. cold pressed
Paint brushes: flat brush, round brush and liner brush for details (sizes of your choice)
Hunter Green Dark
Hunter Green Dark
Painting Instructions:Prepare your paper for painting by taping the paper to your watercolor board with masking tape.
Sketch in the painting using the painting above as a guide. It is important to use a ruler as you will want straight lines for the rails and walkway deck. Also, sketch in the horizon. It is not necessary to sketch in the sea oats. These can be painted in “free hand” or they can be sketched in lightly after the other parts of the picture have been painted.
The sky is painted first. Wet the sky area with clean water. Prepare the paint you plan to use for the sky. Using the flat brush, start at the top and paint from top to bottom ending with the lightest color (almost white) where the sky meets the water. While the sky is still wet, drop in some deeper intensity of the same color in various locations and use a tissue to remove some of the paint to create clouds. Allow to dry.
Note: The time of day and the weather conditions can be changed based on the paint colors used for the sky and for the water.
Paint the sandy beach next using a pale wash of yellow ochre, add Payne’s Gray in the center section of the beach to indicate a tide line. While the paint is still wet, drop in Sap Green and Burnt Umber in the area where the lower section of the sea oats are growing and are seen through the boardwalk rails. Using another Q-tip, soften the beach area where it meets the water, removing enough paint to create the foam. Be careful to now “scrub” the Q-tip across the paper with enough pressure to leave marks or rough up the paper. Allow to dry.
Paint the Boardwalk using Payne’s Gray, Sepia and Yellow Ochre. Paint one section at a time and allow to dry before painting an adjoining section so the colors do not run from one section to another. First, apply clean water to a section and drop in the paint colors allowing the colors to be lighter and darker in various spots on the same board. Allow to dry. Details/wood grain will be added later.
Sea Oats:If you feel more comfortable sketching in the sea oats before you paint, do so using a light pencil mark. Do not indent the paper. Prepare a wash of yellow ochre, burnt umber, and Sap Green. Using these colors alternate painting the stalks of various heights using a round brush or a liner brush. Refer to the painting for placement. Using the edge of a flat brush, tap in the “oat” portion of the sea oats varying the paint colors. Drop in Sap Green mixed with ultramarine blue in the right lower section of the rail and using a small piece of credit card pull up the grasses. Add some Burnt Umber to add variety to the color and indicate shadows.
Using a flat brush with the bristles spread, dry brush the wood grain using Payne’s Gray and Burnt Umber. Add knot holes and other details with a liner brush.
Sand Detail:Cover with a paper towel all sections of the painting except for the beach. Using a wash of Payne’s Gray and a flat brush, spatter the paint to add details to the sand.
Check your painting for any additional details you would like to add. When satisfied, sign your painting!