Sparkle on Water, St Osyth’s Beach

The fascination of a body of water and its properties is a constant source of inspiration to me, and I would assume to you also.

I often sit on this part of the beach on the steps at the lower end of the sea wall in the distance. The view of water and its raft of properties from this vantage point is perfect. The sparkle on the water was the element that caught my attention on this particular day. It was very hot and the sun was high in the sky, not a cloud in sight. I walked along the stretch of beach and took the photograph from the opposite side to include the sea wall.

For this painting I used acrylics and gouache. I also used a new surface, that I have not painted on before, which is a sheet of 1/4 inch thick white plastic.

I started painting the sky first, after making an outline sketch of the main shapes. I used a cerulean blue and worked in glazes, from very light tone to opaque to give the impression of a clear, gentle sky. I used a large chisel brush. I then painted the body of water. I mixed up the sea colour, using my cerulean blue and a dark green. I applied the paint using a horizontal brushstroke. I varied the colour in different areas, so it looked greener or bluer, depending on the light source.

I then painted in the rock formations using a variety of colours: purple, brown, green, burnt umber, in different mixes, together and separately. For the sea wall I mixed a yellow ochre with a small amount of umber.

For the sand, which is quite rough and ragged, I used yellow ochre, burnt sienna, purple, lemon yellow and flesh tint. All of these colours were applied using a large natural sponge, side by side on the sponge to achieve the required variation of colour and texture.

I then painted in the sparkle on the water. I used a zinc white and a lot of patience. I used a small brush and applied the tiny particles of paint that were going to suggest this wonderful magic of sparkle on a body of water. This took some time. Lastly, I painted in the gentle ripples of the waves lapping on the beach.

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