Painting on Location

Hookipa Waves, Maui, Hawaii

22x30 Water Color on Strathmore Gemini #300

Day1, Me on location, Hookipa Beach, today I have to find my picture so I walked and looked a lot. Since this is a commission I have to take more than what I want into consideration.

Me on location

Day 2, I made some thumbnail 6x9 sketches in pencil, This is the general layout.
A view between the coral, the entrance to surf. I want a close breaking wave.


I have to get the feel for the wave action so I'm starting in pencil. In life drawing these would be called gesture drawing.

wave lines

Day 4, started out rainy, but with a good rainbow.
If I add a rainbow it would dominate... In the afternoon the sun was shining so I caught the colors I saw.
Water colors dry lighter then while they are wet. To keep the colors transparent don't use brown, white, yellow oxide or Naples yellow. All colors easily made in W/C.

I have the grid in my mind to show the action of the white water on the force line. The force line is on the peak of each wave.  A grid shows the action and force lines.
Wave grid, draw
wave grid WC

Day 5, the day was spent on the drawing, outlining the patterns so I can lay in the colors largely. The first pattern I filled in was the sky. Gemini is a great paper, very sensitive to washes. It's not as heavily sized as Arches so not quite as forgiving but very receptive. It will stain with the first stroke if the paper has not been pre-wet.

This sky took more then one session, painting until the wet pattern area was dry, re-wetting the whole sky and again painting until the paper was dry. When you want hard edges now, use a hair drier.

Don't waste your painting time on paper less then #300 if you are doing serious work. Synthetic papers not withstanding, they don't buckle and don't yellow.

The second color was the sand and that was day one of painting.

day 6

Day 8, Today was the brightest day yet, beautiful. Show big brushstrokes where you can.

WATER COLOR TIPS: Draw with a pencil harder than a normal 2B, outline the whites and high lights. Wash the #300 paper with a 5" elephant ear sponge, while there's still a slight sheen add colors, paint until the paper is dry. Don't wet the pencil lines or the graphite will imbed into the paper and be hard to remove.
There is no need to tape down #300 paper, hold the corners down with close pins. When it's completely dry, re-spray it with water and start again, the dried colors won't move and can be painted over. Paint all the way to the edges, load the brush accurately, two strokes from one load plus enough left in the puddle for one more stroke. A dry brush will pick up or exchange wet colors. Don't paint with the wrong color, don't leave accidental white spots, outline white areas before hand, soften at least one edge of each stroke, start at the top left and pull, don't push the brush.

day 8

Day 9, Working on the lower left shallow water and the contrast of the coral reef.

day 9

Day 10, The reef is now lighter on top and the back water is darker.

day 10

Day 11, I got in the big clean face on the back wave and because the client wants to see larger waves with big faces I'm changing the middle waves and the direction of the foreground wave.

Day 12, The middle ground is next, the foreground wave now is more adjacent to the horizon line. It now matches the way the bigger sets waves appear.

Finished, It was a nice day today, the waves were not as big as I wanted but everything else was perfect.

finished Hookipa Waves

More on Waves, out of order, new window, Waves explained, waves.htm

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