Step-by-step: Paint light on the sea

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1 First I paint blue re­flec­tions of the sky on the parts of the waves that are raised. Us­ing blue brush strokes I also try to de­fine the shapes of the waves; they’re sim­i­lar to moun­tains be­cause they’re aligned one to an­other (the wa­ter is one sin­gle sur­face). I cre­ate larger waves in the fore­ground, and make them more de­tailed. 2 Then I add some ex­tra light on the waves that aren’t re­flect­ing any­thing, be­cause light can pass through the wa­ter and illuminate the waves from within, cre­at­ing high­lights on places where tech­ni­cally there should be shad­ows. I then start to paint some sea foam on the waves. A lit­tle foam on the edges of the waves can look good, but try to be sub­tle. 3 I add the re­flec­tions of el­e­ments such as cliffs, boats and rocks. These el­e­ments have a re­flec­tion im­me­di­ately be­low them, just as they would if they were on a mir­ror – but these re­flec­tions are dis­torted be­cause of the waves. Don’t for­get to let the colours in­ter­act: if the sea is green put some of that re­flected green on the rocks, for ex­am­ple.

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