A Student recently wrote that she was frustrated with trying to paint the crashing wave for an ocean scene.
How many times have you been frustrated….?
Sometimes we just need to relax loosen up, let some time pass and then when we feel the creative juices flowing again, tackle the wave again. What always helps me is reviewing the reference information.
I like to watch the video and list the steps in my own words so they have a lot of meaning to me. Because if I can close my eyes and visualize each of the steps, than I know I can paint that puppy.
Here’s the steps I use and how I approach the crashing wave …..
Draw the two lines where I want the entire wave. Just two parallel lines.
Re-inforce with white, the top line using a #3 fan brush.
Draw the dump line where I want the rolling over portion of the crashing wave (Off-centered).
Using a dark ocean color, shape the dump using a #3 Fan brush.
Draw where I want the eye of the crashing wave.
Blend back the line drawn at the top of the wave with long rocking strokes using a #3 fan brush. This will pull the top of the wave out of the painting. Leave the bottom line alone.
Next scrub in with your light color using a fan brush, #6 Filbert or #6 flat brush, the eye of the wave. The eye should be shaped like a football or a human eye.
Load up the #3 Fan with your light foam color with paint on the very tips of the brush. Line the top of the dump line with the paint from the tips of the brush.
Now with the #3 fan brush, pull the highlights over the dump. It’s like pulling paint over a pickle barrel. So take care in this step to come forward a bit and then roll down off. So imagine you’re on a barrel with your paint brush and you just want to stroke along the outside edge.
So now the eye and the dump is done. Next is the dark foam color.
The dark foam color will be where the dump is splashing, over the eye of the wave and along the top of the wave’s trailing body.
What I like to do with any number of brushes (#3 Fan Brush, #6 Filbert bristle, #6 or #4 bristle flat) is take a small amount of dark foam color and using a small, tight circular motion, paint the foam color up around the eye of the wave, alongside of the dump as it crashes to the ocean floor, across the bottom of the dump where the water would be hitting the ocean floor, and then back up into the air as the splash is thrown back from hitting an underwater or gove water structure.
Reload with paint as needed.
When this finished than add a small amount of dark foam color to the brush and finish the top of the wave’s trailing body with the foam color. It should get smaller and disappear as the distance between the eye and you increases dramatically.
With a dry brush, using a circular motion, blend all the dark foam color you just put down. If I can, I will use the 1” brush for this step. You use what you feel comfortable with.
Now highlight your foam by just painting over the top 1/3 of the dark foam color with the highlight. Blend the border with your 1” brush.
Sometimes I’ll use the white medium to put little speckles along the top of the wave so that the vibrant motion of the ocean is maintained.
Add your darkest ocean color under the dump and at the base of the wave’s trailing body.
Add the light foam color to the top 1/3 of the wave’s trailing body underneath any painted foam.
With a #3 fan brush and going in the direction of the ocean movement, blend the dark and highlights together in the wave’s body creating backward 3’s to emulate foam patterns. Now this is really important…the closer you are to the eye of the wave, the sharper the angle from bottom to top of the wave for the foam pattern. The farther away you are from the eye of the wave, the flatter the foam patterns until there’s no wave at all.
Add foam patterns to the rest of the ocean, finish your back waves and the beach and your crashing wave is complete.