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How to Paint Waves, Rocks & Surf Using Acrylic Paint

Learn how to paint waves, rocks and surf using acrylic paint from painter Linda Rhea in this Howcast video.


Hi, I'm Linda. I created a company called Paint Along. Check us out at We have really fun painting workshops in Nashville and New York. We have already prepared our canvas by putting different shades of blue in horizontal strokes. I am going to start with a turquoise blue and I am going to start it at half portion of the canvas and I am just going to put lines coming across, almost straight, you want them to have a little bit of wave to them you let them kind of go in and out of light and shade. As it gets closer to you, the waves should be getting wider and further apart, so that is depicting the surface of the water. The next thing I would like to do is show you how to make a soft rolling wave. This is a flat 3/4 inch brush and I am going to load it up with a little bit of white paint. This is almost what I call a draw brush method where you use just a small amount of paint. I am going to make my wave come over this dark area right. I want it to look like it is just falling softly over this dark area that is going to be the shadow in the inside portion of the wave, so I am just going to start right here and I am going to use a soft curve and just let it go to nothing as you come across and then it is a good further along, I am going to let flat and out. Another thing you can do to make the waves like there is a little foam underneath the waves is you can take a fan brush and we are going to put a little bit of white paint on this fan brush. We are just going to dab a few little dots here and it gives us the illusion that the waves are bubbling. The next thing I would like to demonstrate is how to create a rock with a big wave crushing against it. I am going to use my 1/2-inch flat brush, start with some brown paint and I am going to put the rock in this left hand corner. What I am going to use is a dabbing technique with this brush, just laying down the foundation of this rock. I also want to add a little bit of white paint to it to give in a few highlights. I am going to blend it right into my brown paint and then I am just going to dab on some white highlights into the rock. The next thing I want to do is make the water look like it is splashing up against the rock so what I am going to do is I am going to is I am going to use a 1-inch flat brush, I am just going to put it right up against the rock and also put a few little dabs of the turquoise blue just every once in a while and dab to give it some color. I am going to go back to my fan brush and I am going to take the paint that is on here and I am just going to stroke up and it will give it a look like the water is just splashing off the rock and that is how you do basic surf, rocks, and waves.

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