Hi friends,

This is one of my favourite paintings to work on from start to finish 'Rushing In'.

Little did I realise how popular this would become on the internet when I first painted this in 2010, so I thought it would be a good idea to paint this scene from start to finish for a fourth time and explain in detail what was going through my thoughts as I worked on it and what colors I used and more. 

Hope this is useful and helps explain just how nutty I am about oceans ha ha

Stage one - Background, distant rocks and sea and sky The first task is to paint your sea line, or the line that divides the sea from the sky. I usually go three quarters of the way up from the bottom of the canvas. Place this halfway and it looks odd. 

Then begin mixing your paint. I chose sky blue acrylic and deep turquoise for the base ocean color. There are many different hues of these colors but I enjoy that rich teal or turquoise appearance to the sea. The further your eye moves away from the foreground, the more blue you want your sea to appear (blue - distance). Sorry about the lopsided horizon line, it was just my crummy camera. Next shot will be nice and straight. :)

The clouds are formed easily by taking a medium soft brush and painting the top half of the cloud in pure white paint, this top edge has to be crisp and clean. Then take a large brush or fan brush and pull the color downward diagonally so that it fades into the background. Finish off with a large brush to blend the bottom half out.

The rocks in Rushing in are essential black. This gives the idea of very bright sunlight, which is what you want for this scene. Add some shape to them with a dark gray, just little lines and bold strokes and dots will eventually give a 3d appearance to them.

The sea foam is formed using very clear white paint and all I did to create the appearance of waves here is to draw very thin white lines with the brush right the way across the canvas left to right. Using the same white, drag little lines up the rocks here and there too, to give the appearance of spray and splashing upwards. As the eye moves into the distant horizon in the painting, just add a little more water to your paint but still create those little lines. Let nature take it course and fade the paint out naturally..

Well thats all for the moment folks, but I will upload the next part very soon. Happy creating

Alan :)

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Im painting this on a canvas at home measuring 40x40Inches

This is great Alan! And wow it's huge. You are definitely THE guy when it comes to oceans/seascape paintings. I love all your paintings and the sea 'creatures' are just ridiculously awesome. :) I'd love to be able to do ocean scenes! I am just getting frustrated sometimes when it comes to blending especially making the clouds. I will get it someday. ^_^ Thanks for sharing this! Cant wait to see the next parts.


Thanks for sharing this, Alan.  Is it oils or acrylics?



Hi Nej and Maggie,

The painting has come out huge on here too lol Oh well I suppose it helps being so large on screen as well. Its done in acrylics Maggie, the medium I finally rested upon as my favourite. Thanks to you too for dropping by. Im not sure how many stages there will be of this but I suppose the more the merrier but will try to keep it to around 6 or so. This could also apply easily to oils too Maggie. Same technique, same colors :)

Blending is tricky with acrylics at first Nej, I think it might have something to do with the fact that acrylics have plastic within them, not entirely sure but a great method is to paint the colors you want to mix in separate long broad lines one above each other, light to dark and then use a large brush very lightly and now and then roughly back and forth, back and forth until the colors fade into each other.

Practice blending yellow and red, blue and white and others together on a spare canvas or thick art card until you feel confident blending. After that it becomes second nature. :)  Nej thanks for your comment here, it really made me smile :) All my happiness Nej and Maggie and thankyou:)

Okay. Next part to complete is the large rock on the left. Just simply get as much black acrylic as you can and fill in this shape. Curve the bottom edge of it round slightly so that it almost reaches the bottom left of your canvas and give it some jagged edges around its bottom half too. Leave this to dry.

Now we finish off the foam and splash and movement lines of the sea at the top left. Bring it right down to the edge of your black rock making the marks and lines thicker all the time. Finish this off by taking a thick rough brush and literally dab it in to create foam movement across the top of the rock. Do the same with the foam hitting against the rocks on the right of the painting. Build up the shape of the rocks slightly and make the foam follow their contour but slightly more thicker. Also create your wave line across the canvas. I chose to draw this in with a thin paintbrush and white paint and built up the foam to its edge. The land in the far distance was built up just using pale blue, a little turquoise and white. Use more white at the bottom half where the land meets the distant ocean to give it almost a hazy appearance.

You can see how Ive scrumpled or applied the white foam in the top left much better in this update. Just use a large round brush and literally dab it over your little wave lines, more so nearer the large black rock. 

For me the magic of 'Rushing in' is the deep turquoise blue color in the mid centre of the surging wave. This was missing in the previous version (2011) that I did and ended up looking too milky or pale. I have put this deep rich color back in this updated version. Its simply deep turquoise and Indigo. Create a mix of both on your palette and test its consistency against the background color of your initial wave here. If its too light add more indigo, too dark, more turquoise. When you like the color, paint this in starting from the bottom right of your canvas and work it up to the top of your wave, slightly lightening the color each time with more turquoise. 

Now you want your sunlight to appear through the top half of your wave. Just add white to your indigo/turquoise mix, keep lightening it with white and applying it to the canvas more and more until its off white just under your wave. Blend it all together with a large soft brush :)

Thats all for today folks, happy wave creating as always, or as Wyland says Best Fishes :))

Here are three close ups of the sections I've described above. The distant landscape, the foam touching the large black rock on the left and the foam touching the rocks to the right.

This (below) is a close up of how I blended in the highlight (off white/turquoise) into the deep rich turquoise wave background color. Make the blend as smooth as you can because movement will be added later. The smoothness of this gives it its magic.... ;)

Okay heres the tough part. Adding movement to the wall of the wave. For this and each other version of Rushing in that I did I added movement by applying countless very pale washes of white and blue and turquoise, not bright but pale washes made up mostly of water with just a hint of those three colors. Let each layer dry completely before adding another and another and so on. Eventually what will happen is the above effect. You will see the lines forming into ripples on the surface of your very turquoise wave. There is no exact number of layers for this as I just stop when I feel that it looks right. This acts also as sunlight reflecting off the wall of the wave :)

Next take that same cloudy pale wash and apply it to the bottom left cove haphazardly, this will act as a cloudiness in the water upon which you will place your white foam. When its done it looks like tiny bubbles forming underneath :)

When I had completed both these sections I began adding a little more detail to the foam running off the rocks to the right, added some lines to show movement, for this just use white paint and a fine brush. Apply some extra foam trails dropping down from your main wave too and around the large black rock to the left.

Next part we shall build up the mass of gurgling, bubbling swelling foam below the black rock to the left.

Jim said:

One word...FAB

Thanks Jim :)

Nearly done now folks. Ive gradually built up the foam using a thick pointed brush. Rather than just dabbing it on with crisp white I built up foam lines, some thick and some thin in the bottom left area by the black rock. This doesn't take long really. If you dab large white blobs in the area it looks odd, so create thick and think splodged lines. Then add some dark blue and white, mix this up and create your shadow against the rocks. Add some to the rock itself by adding more dark blue to give shape to the rock. Then do the white paint toothbrush spray method to create all that gorgeous mist and bubbles on your foam trails bottom left. Job almost done :)

The foam lines or trails were the fun part. The technique here is to never make your foam lines straight as this doesn't occur in nature but to give them almost a 'lightning' in the sky' effect. Half way up the wave ovals and joined spaces between the lines begin to appear as you can see here. and then trail down to hard surfaces where they build up into almost triangular shapes as you can see on the bottom right. Always follow the contour of your wave too, or the direction is is flowing. :)

I used a thin liner brush for this and crisp white paint. Now and then create little dots along the line too suggesting larger foam or droplets of foam.

Second to last stage now. Its time to fill in that rock at the bottom right. For my several previous version of this, I just made the rock mossy green and brown or tan. To give the rock a little extra realism though, start by painting a brown mix all over it and lighten the area up top where you think the sun will reflect on its surface. I chose light tan to blend into the almost chocolate dark brown here or as close to that color as you can which brings a touch of warmth to the cool blue and black elements of the painting. You might like to leave it as just bare rock, but I shall fill in the surface with olive green and burnt sienna tones.



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