The Art Project:  Sea Landscape

 

This art project is based on Winslow Homer’s “Bermuda Sloop”. We will do our own watercolor Sea landscape. The most important characteristic of watercolor is that it is transparent. The colors become lighter as more water is mixed with them. Artists can choose to use soft blurry washes by wetting the paper first or they can apply crisp color to dry paper. We will do just like Winslow, using three different watercolor effects in one painting: a wash (paper wet before applying watercolors that are diluted with water), regular watercolor painting (paper dry and watercolors with water) and a dry effect (paper dry and hardly any water with the watercolors).

MATERIAL NEEDED: Heavy paper, watercolors, cup for water, brushes (one big and one small for details), masking tape, paper towels, newspaper and drawings or pictures of boats for reference. To see some sketches of boats
click here.

Step 1
Do a pencil sketch on a separate piece of paper, so you know what type of boat you want and where you want to place your boat. Make sure it’s a big enough boat that it takes at least a quarter of the amount of space on the paper.

Step 2
Once your sketch is done, you may want to do a very very light outline of the boat on the paper you are going to paint on. The pencil lines should be so light that you can hardly see them. Here is a trick: You can place the sketch of your boat on the paper where you want it to go and go over the main line with pen, the paper under it will have an indentation of those line that you can barely see but that you can use as a guide. In this example I have used pen so you can see the lines for the art lesson purpose.

Step 3
Tape masking tape all around the edges of the paper you are going to be painting on, as to create a frame out of masking tape. Make sure tape is put down correctly so when you apply the watercolors, the paint won’t bleed under the tape. When you are done painting this masking tape will be removed and you will be left with a white edge, framing your painting.

Step 4
You can take masking tape and cover the area of the boat, just the outline of it, so you can paint without worrying about going over the boat space, or the whole boat, just make sure the tape is put on correctly so the paint won’t go under the edges. (You may even use a paper cut out of a boat and tape it around the outline to the paper you are painting on if the space is too big for masking tape).

Step 5
We will start with the sky by doing a wash technique. Chose the colors you will use for your sky, like blue, purple or other colors like orange and red if doing a sunset. Mix them with a lot of water so they are transparent almost. Then wet the area where you wish your sky to go by using your big brush with plain water and covering the entire sky area. Then take the diluted watercolors and apply them in different areas but do leave some areas white for clouds. Make sure you rinse your brush completely before switching to different colors.

Step 6
Wait a few minutes until your sky is dry. Then you can do the sea using a regular watercolor technique. Do not wet the paper, just add a bit of water to your watercolors and start to paint the sea, leaving some areas white for reflections or the white foam waves make. Choose colors that are similar to your sky and they will appear a bit brighter now that you do not have the paper wet. You may have a calm sea or a stormy sea with big waves.

Step 7
Again, wait until the sea is dry and then remove the masking tape around the boat area. We will use a dry brush technique. That means your paper is dry and hardly any water on the watercolors. You may want to practice on a paper first. If watercolors are runny on the paper, you have too much water…you should be able to apply the watercolors and lift the paper without the colors running. 

Step 8

Choose the colors you will use for the sail and the boat and start by using the lightest colors first with the small brush and then working your way to the darkest. You will need to load your brush with watercolors more often when it’s the dry brush technique.


Step 9
Once you are finished adding all the final details to your painting and it’s completely dry, you can remove the masking tape around the edges very carefully as to not tear the paper. Sometimes people like to add a few outlines with pen to make certain parts stand out. But his Homer’s artwork was not very detailed, in this case we will not use pen outlines. Voila! It’s ready to frame. 

 

 



Read more about Winslow Homer here.


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