Sunday, August 2, 2015

Algae Bloom

A couple of months ago there was an algae bloom off the coast of Santa Barbara that turned out water from it's normal blue to a brilliant Caribbean turquoise.  A friend saw a picture I posted and asked me to paint it for her.  I LOVE the way the painting turned out and so does my friend but the process was different than my normal process.  Follow along below...

It started with this photo taken from a cliff above the ocean.  See the original post and more photos here.

Before I started painting I covered the whole canvas with yellow ochre.  As a self taught artist I had never heard of starting a canvas with an all over color.  As much research and reading and video watching I have done on painting I'm surprised I had never heard of this, but the recent article I read insisted that starting with a color will make all the difference in the world.  Besides the depth created by some of the under color peaking through, painting on a colored ground is supposed to help your colors stay true.  Painting directly onto bright way may distort the way you choose your colors.

Filling in more color.

As this point I thought I was pretty close but the foreground was really bothering me.  I posted this picture online and immediately my brother started texting me about perspective and how he didn't like the foreground.  I've never gotten such instant feedback!  So back to work I went.

Adding more detail to the foreground.
Finished!  It didn't photograph as well as I had hoped.  It looks even better than this and my friend is happy!

Sunday Sketches


  1. Beautiful seascape. Love your colors and I do like the foreground. The wave details are perfect. When I paint people...I start with a wash of yellow and then add my flesh tones.

  2. Wow this is really well done, love how you started with ochre.

  3. Great job Rita. Keep it up and soon you'll be making your own on-line classes. ;)

  4. Thankyou for sharing your technique! Very interesting how you layer each colour. And a lovely result.Turquoise is one of my favourite colours.

    Best wishes,

  5. Lovely painting and how nice of a friend to share the inspiration for it with you!

  6. This is a lovely seascape, wonderful that you started with an ochre base underneath the greys/blues.. it worked a treat!!... I'd love to be there right now... its so cold here!!!

  7. Rita, so lovely to have you join us this week. What a beautiful photo and gorgeous interpretation of it. I'm ready to jump in and explore more of your seascape world. :)

  8. I love how the ocean changes with weather and organisms. I really enjoyed watching your process, and the painting is wonderful. I can see why the recipient is happy! Thanks for the sunday sketches visit.