Beach Painting = Learning Curves

Our family recently visited a favorite beach for a week. With watercolor gear in tow, I had grand plans of finding multitudes of inspiration and painting en plein air.

Painting at the Beach

Painting a Shell at the Beach

As you can see, I had a great setup on the porch of the beach house with plenty of shade – and wind – which is not so conducive to watercolor painting.  It’s difficult to work wet-in-wet when the wet dries in under a minute from the lovely beach breeze!  I am in no way complaining about beach breezes, though, because they make the beach habitable on a hot day.  The second issue was that my glasses, which darken from the sun, got so dark that it was difficult to distinguish the appropriate colors.  I managed to create a few things outside, but mostly I drew outside and painted inside when time permitted.

More Shells

More Shells

These are the only true en plein air watercolors from this trip, but many more paintings were done in a Moleskine travel sketchbook. Maybe these will be shared at a later date; I really want to use up that sketchbook and get on with making my own with paper that I enjoy using.  Now to find those book-making instructions from Jill . . .  Have a great week!





Shells, #WorldWatercolorGroup

This month I decided to work on a larger painting that would also correspond with a WWG prompt, and I was guided by my love of the beach.  Since my beach tutorial book was still out from painting the hermit crab, I zeroed in on these shells.



This painting has several layers for the background in order to build up the variations in color.  I didn’t follow the instructions totally because I never have the exact colors as specified, and actually I thought it suggested too many colors anyhow.  That does nothing but confuse me, so I ended up using only five colors in the painting and mixing my own variations as necessary.  Hopefully this painting helps transport your thoughts to a warm, tropical place on this cold February day.


Topsail Treasures #NatureDoodlewash

Here are a few of the fun nature treasures we found this year.  Yes, that is a praying mantis in the middle, and I painted him because I had never seen one so tiny.  He was gracefully crawling across my shirttail, and to put it in perspective, from the tip of his antenna to the back of his feet this little guy was a little smaller than my index fingernail (which is cut short).  After observing him for a while, we put him in the tall grasses off the deck, but I sure hope the anole didn’t have him for a snack!

Topsail Treasures 2016

Topsail Treasures

Anyhow, starting on the top left are some pieces of beach glass we found.  Going clockwise is a cockle shell and a coquina shell.  The bottom row is a small selection of the shark teeth we found throughout the week.  Thanks for joining me today for this #NatureDoodlewash.

Happy New Year!

So it is finally seasonal here as far as the weather. I am not fond of freezing temps, but cold is expected in Cincinnati during the winter, and we need the cold in order to keep Mother Nature not as confused as she has been. Darn it, but my crocuses and hyacinths are peeking out too much for this time of year. During the cold I think of Topsail Beach to keep warm, so what is better than a loose, shadowy watercolor of the beach? 

Hope your 2016 has been warm and snugly so far. May 2016 be kind, gentle, and peaceful for you!