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Seascape Watercolor Paintings

Updated on June 4, 2012

Go to the beach if you want to paint a seascape

Seascapes will look beautiful if painted with watercolor. As an artist, I have made some paintings that show the natural beauty of beaches in West Papua. My latest painting is the Dorey bay of Manokwari (look at the second painting in this article). To make this painting, I had to do some observations about the bay from several different angles at the beaches to find their best seascape spot. Direct observation of the seascape is really needed by artists if they really want to create artworks that accurately and naturally depict the subject area. By making observations, artists will be able to plan their painting sequences and the colors that they need to create beautiful artworks. I chose Anggrem wooden boat harbor as my spot. It is within a walking distance from my house. Because sketching or drawing the seascape on the spot attracted the attention of the crowds, I decided to take only some pictures of the bay using my Sony digital still photo camera and sketched the scenery at home using the photographs that I had made as my references. When I nearly finished the Dorey bay of Manokwari, I went to the Anggrem harbor again to check whether I had missed anything that should be painted. I finally realized that the color of the Arfak mountains at the background should be stronger. Then I returned home and corrected my artwork again.

Two birds singing by the beach a seascape watercolor painting by Charles Roring
Two birds singing by the beach a seascape watercolor painting by Charles Roring
Watercolor painting of seascape by Charles Roring
Watercolor painting of seascape by Charles Roring
Three little girls walking by the beach - watercolor painting by Charles Roring
Three little girls walking by the beach - watercolor painting by Charles Roring

Use High quality watercolour pencils and tubes

After the sketch had been completed, I began coloring it with light washes. I used Derwent 72 watercolour pencils (made in England) and some tubes from Pentel Watercolors (made in Taiwan). Then I slowly darkened the outlines of some objects in my artwork with darker washes.
The transparent effect of watercolor makes the painting looks brighter. Even though the colors from Pentel tubes are stronger, I prefer to use Derwent because there is a wide selection of colors which I can choose. The result will be better if the materials that I use to make my paintings are of high quality. Derwent watercolour pencils are ten times more expensive than the locally manufactured ones. I prefer Derwent art supplies because I believe that I can make better paintings using high quality art materials.

Start with a sketch, begin with light washes

People often say that watercolor is a difficult media. When I started using watercolor, I was shocked by the mess that I made on my sketch. I was at first very difficult to control. Often the washes went beyond the outlines that I had made in the sketch. I did not take much time to be familiar with watercolor. Within two or three days painting, I was able to have more controls on the strokes and washes of the watercolor. Now every time I use this media, I will not flood my paper with water except for wet on wet painting. I will use very little water to fill the outlines that I created on my sketch. Sketch is the foundation of painting. When we draw or sketch a subject, we make a plan for the sequence of washes that we will apply later in our painting. Make sure that the sketch is perfectly proportioned before beginning to fill it with watercolor.

Sisters fishing on a wooden jetty A watercolor painting of seascape by Charles Roring
Sisters fishing on a wooden jetty A watercolor painting of seascape by Charles Roring

Apply the principles of perspective drawing

Seascapes cannot be separated from the beach, the sea water, the boats and the lands. Because painting seascape is similar to painting landscape, the principles of perspective drawing have to be applied. If you see my newest painting, the vocal points are the outrigger boat, the wreck boat (floating on the surface of the water) and the blue Arfak mountains. They are not located on the same distance from my eyes. since they are the vocal objects, the colors that I apply to them are stronger. Only the wreck boat that was not painted with strong washes due to its location on the surface of the water to create a contrast look.
The sea is the source of living for fishermen, the recreational destination for city dwellers and the source of art inspiration for me. So, if you are now thinking of going painting, why don't you go to the beach now? by Charles Roring


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