Home » Painting Water 101: Watercolor Techniques For Seas, Oceans & Seascapes

Painting Water 101: Watercolor Techniques For Seas, Oceans & Seascapes

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Step 5: The Colorful Sky


Next, you’ll paint the sky. You only get one chance, so make sure you think of the design and placement of colors before you start painting! Considering Santa Cruz can be sunny or cloudy on any given day, it’s best to combine the two elements.

With a clean no.12 Neef brush, brush clear water over the sky area so you can apply the wet-in-wet technique with your paint, which will help you get the soft, blended effect needed for skies and clouds. Although the ocean is blue, Bill decides to use its complementary color: Orange. Prep Cadmium Yellow Orange and Cadmium Red Light on the palette, then drop this mixture into the wet paper. Dilute the paint if it gets too dark, and apply more pressure on the brush as you get above the buildings. Make sure to leave patches of white for clouds, as this adds to the tone and dramatic contrast of the sky. While the paper is still wet, add a streak of Neutral Tint to darken the area above the mountains for a cloud bank. You can use the same color underneath the white clouds for their shadows. Allow the paints to bleed into one another and create “happy accidents”, which happen often when using the wet-in-wet technique.