Step-by-step: Paint light on the sea
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.