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How to Paint Seafoam

Updated on March 9, 2014

Sea foam is created when waves fall over and the water becoming aerated. Sea foam is what floats on top of waves and looks like bubbles moving up and down with the waves. When creating an ocean scene first decide which way the waves will be moving and approaching the shore.  Once this choice has been made, then make sure that the other elements in the painting move in the same direction such as the sea foam.

View of boys in the surf at Sebastian Inlet State Park: Melbourne Beach, Florida
View of boys in the surf at Sebastian Inlet State Park: Melbourne Beach, Florida | Source

How to Create Sea Foam

1. Use a color for the sea foam that is lighter than the ocean, by mixing a titanium white or a lighter color to the ocean color.

2. Add the lighter color acrylic paint to the brush and drag the brush across the areas to represent breaking waves and sea foam.

3. Add shade underneath the sea foam to give it shadow and depth. Create the shade color by using a slightly darker color then the sea foam such as adding less titanium white or lighter color, to the ocean color or by adding more of the ocean color to the sea foam color.

4. Change the direction of the foam to show movement.

More Artist Techniques

Water Spray

A water spray bottle may be use to create sprays of sea foam. The water helps to move the paint around on the paper and will spread the color out leading to lighter spots. Experiment with various sizes of sprays and atomizer.


Sprinkle salt on wet paint to help absorb color, once the paint dries, brush the salt away. Various kinds of salt have various sizes such as kosher salt, sea salt and rock salt. The more salt use, the more paint will be absorbed.


Sand may also be used to remove paint for a sea foam affect, sprinkle beach sand or place sand on top of the paints and once it dries brush it away.


Use a sponge to lightly apply paint for a sea foam affect. To have the most affect apply the paint to just one part of the sponge and then dab lightly across the area to represent sea foam.

Coastline with lots of foam

Coast line with little foam

Works Cited

Moses, M. Easy Watercolor. Sterling.



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    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 22 months ago

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      From reading this, I assume you are talking about watercolors verses acrylics or oil paints. I have heard of people using salt when painting watercolors. I have thus far done very little with watercolors. Will have to try experimenting more. Thanks for this article. :)

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      dragonflyfla 5 years ago from South Florida

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      This is a great craft article.