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Mixed Media Color Studio
Color choices can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to blue. How do you choose the right shade? Blues can be warm or cool. If the color has red undertones, it’s considered warm; if it has green undertones, it’s considered cool. The blue you choose is entirely up to you, and
I encourage you to play and experiment to discover what you like best.

This lesson will not only expose you to myriad blue hues, but it will also bolster your acrylic painting practice. If you don’t have a million blues like I do, return to the color wheel warm-up lesson and mix a variety of blues using the modern primaries. Once you have a nice selection, begin playing with paint and create these lovely small seascapes.

Posted by Aurum Press Published See Aurum Press's 78 projects » © 2021 Wynne Conrad, Kellee / Quarry Books · Reproduced with permission.
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  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 1
    Step 1

    For this lesson, we’ll be working on multiple mini canvases at the
    same time; I worked on four at once. Doing this offers a chance to
    experiment with more shades of blue. Painting multiple canvases
    helps establish a cohesive series, even if different color palettes are
    used. I also find that while working on several canvases, one idea
    leads to another, which I can try instantly on another piece.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 2
    Step 2

    Begin each painting with a different acrylic paint ground. A ground
    is a first layer of color on a canvas that influences the overall tone
    of the painting. I usually like to use warm colors such as pink, yellow,
    orange, or red mixed with white to create contrast with the blue
    added later. To give the surface a painterly look, don’t completely
    blend all the paint, but allow for variation in the marks. Allow to dry.

    Take It to the Edge
    Don’t forget to paint the edges of the canvases; this makes the pieces look complete and ready to present.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 3
    Step 3

    Create the sand for the seascape. I used my favorite combination of paint colors: Titan buff, Van Dyke brown, and warm gray. To achieve
    the striations in the paint that mimic sand, dip a paintbrush in two or more colors of paint and brush them onto the canvas. Paint about
    one-quarter of the way up from the bottom, and do not blend the colors completely.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 4
    Step 4

    For the sea and sky, we will mostly use one variation of blue, plus white. Heavy-body white paint will allow you to create clouds with a bit of texture.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 5
    Step 5

    To create the ocean, keep two things in mind:
    Water is usually darker at the horizon, and the
    horizon line is always straight. Select a darker blue,
    such as phthalo or Prussian blue, and create a
    straight line for the water about one-third of the
    way up on the canvas. While the blue paint is still
    wet, mix a dab of white into the blue and slightly
    cover the sand, allowing it to peek out from the
    surf. Don’t forget to paint the edges of the canvas.
    Allow to dry.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 6
    Step 6

    Use the blue already on your brush to create the sky. Use the marks and brushstrokes of the bright ground color to inspire your next
    brushstrokes.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 7
    Step 7

    Mix in more white with the blue, and remember that the sky is usually much lighter at the horizon. Go with the flow, but don’t overbrush and lose the marks you’ve created. The unblended marks represent the clouds. Also, be mindful of not covering up the entire ground color; this will give your painting a sunset glow.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 8
    Step 8

    At this stage, I like to allow my intuition to take over while continuing to paint the sky. I let the previous layers tell me where to put the next marks. Does a brushstroke look like a cloud or a windswept sky? Make sure you let the marks be. Don’t overthink this step or you may overblend the sky and cover up the bright pops
    of yellow or pink underneath.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 9
    Step 9

    Creating waves and ocean breaks tends to use very similar
    methods as painting the clouds. Using a dry brush and a
    little white paint, drag the brush across the edge of the water
    where it hits the sand. Allow the brush to skip on the surface and make irregular marks. An abstract seascape should look believable but not completely realistic, so be mindful of the horizon line, shading, shadows, and color details.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 10
    Step 10

    Lighten Up

    Since acrylic paint dries darker, make sure to add enough white to your seascape so it doesn’t look like a nightscape. Always go several shades lighter than you think you need to paint a sky.

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 11
    Step 11

    Carefully match up the sides of the canvas with the top, and
    finish up the details. At this phase, I focus on cloud building,
    layering little dabs of heavy-body white paint onto the peaks of the clouds to give them more dimension. Remember: You’re painting
    clouds, not little puffy sheep!

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 12
    Step 12

    There are a million different variations of clouds and
    skies. Study them, take pictures, practice making mini seascapes
    using various background colors and shades of blue, and you will
    soon be an expert sea and cloud painter. These are abstract and
    intuitive, so have fun!

  • How to paint a landscape. Infinite Blues - Step 13
    Step 13

    Some of My Favorite Shades of Blue
    Ultramarine
    Phthalo
    Prussian
    Anthraquinone
    Payne’s gray
    Turquoise
    Cerulean
    Manganese
    Primary cyan
    Cobalt
    Ultramarine light
    Teal

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