Beach Study

I like the beach, in case you haven’t noticed.  Grass, sand, cliffs, water, wind.

I broke down and did a value study for this scene.

Of course, I did it on an accessible page in my sketchbook, but since I did the study before the painting, I knew where I wanted lights and darks.  As I worked, I pulled dark areas together to contrast with lighter / brighter areas.  I mixed my colors using zinc white, but this time used titanium white straight out of the tube to highlight the ocean waves.

I’ve been wondering why people say “zinc for mixing, titanium for highlights.”  Zinc is a transparent white, so it blends with gouache and watercolors without distorting the values.  Titanium is a more opaque white, and as a result good for highlights, but not recommended for color mixing.

 

Beaches & Sea Grass

Nearly everyone I know loves the beach, but there are exceptions.  Mostly, they don’t like sand!  To me, sand is one of the best parts of the beach.  Barefoot, sinking into sand as the tide goes out, walking on warm sand.  Watching the sand skitter across the beach with the wind, in lines or swirls.  Hearing the waves come in and out, a whisper to a roar.  Walking in sand can also be hard work!  And then, the plants.  Grasses, strange sea radishes (that are rather tasty), sea weed and other flotsam.  All these make a beach.

Time of day gives a beach character – blinding high noon, subtle dawn, fiery sunset.  All these add to the experience.  Weather, too.  Wind, rain, snow.

Where you live also adds character to the beach.  Northern, southern, tropical.  Rocky, cliffs, sand white as snow to black as night  Birds, too, and other animals live along the shore.  Beaches are magical worlds wherever they are found.