Beaches make interesting subject matter for landscape painting. The sand, the sky, the water, and even green vegetation and foliage give you a wide range of colors and textures to work with. Acrylic paints are ideal for this type of painting because they can be used thick or diluted to create the varying textures and colors you'll need for your beach landscape.
Painting Tools and Supplies
While there aren't set rules about the tools and supplies you should use, it's a good idea to have the basics on hand in quantity. The wider range of acrylic paint colors you have, the better color combinations you will be able to create. Brushes, both soft and hard bristle, in variety of shapes are useful, as well as sponges and rags, paint thinner, and sketch pencils and erasers.
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Composing Your Beach Scene
Sketch your scene in pencil. You can do it right on the canvas. Keep the sketch light, but do it in detail. Find a focus for your scene. Are there any landmarks besides the sand? Will you include people? Determine if your point of view is from the beach looking out at the ocean or from the ocean looking in at the beach. You might even go for an above-the-beach point of view. Capture all of this before you begin adding color.
Painting the Sky and Water
Use a combination of light and dark blue acrylics to bring the sky out first. Use a wide brush for most of the sky and apply the darker blue as a base, then work in lighter shades of blue to bring out the varied hues of the sky. Use a cotton ball dipped in white paint to bring out the clouds. If there are any buildings on your beach, paint those before you use a thinner brush to bring colors in around your building. Swap the lighter blue paint for a shade of gray if you want to create a stormy sky.
Use dark blue, light blue, and white paint to create your water. Use the white primarily to add foamy tips to waves. Apply your acrylic slightly diluted and move your canvas from side to side to allow the paint to roll and create a motion effect.
Painting Your Beach
Use shades of brown paint for your sand. Start with a light tan base and use a thin brush to work in darker lines. Consider using a sponge or even sprinkles of real sand thrown on top of your wet paint to give it texture. To add a touch of realism, use splashes of gray/white paint to place little seashells throughout your beach. Vary the composition so some of the shells are only half visible.
Use varying colors of green to work in palm trees and other natural beach vegetation to break up the color between the sky, water and sand. You can skip an overload of detail for the vegetation. Try to capture the leaves and trees with one or two strokes of your brush, then mix in colors to bring out the right color tone.