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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > December 18 > Furious seas, billowing clouds and shimmering light

Furious seas, billowing clouds and shimmering light

Take time to experiment with your materials and techniques and embrace the happy accidents with Judith Yates, as she demonstrates a seascape in acrylics

For me, the mood and atmosphere of a painting is of far more importance than accurate topographic details. Crucial information is provided by on-the-spotsketches and colour studies. I also work from memory and imagination and photographs of coastal features, huge dramatic skies and turbulent seas. I use elements from my many photographs rather than slavishly following one, which enables me to experiment freely. It also helps to watch film footage of water and wild seas to understand how water ebbs and flows, the movement of waves and how light plays on and shines through the surface of water.

I usually try out a few simple thumbnail sketches to see which composition works. The rule of thirds creates strong, comfortable compositions, although I might deliberately flout this rule to obtain strong, edgy and slightly disturbing layouts. The layout also helps to lead the eye through the painting to the focal point, even if this is just a bright spot of light in an otherwise loose and atmospheric piece. The key here is to include enough information to keep the work convincing and expressive, whilst leaving out unnecessary detail.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the December issue of The Artist, packed with inspiring, practical articles and demonstrations from top professional artists, all designed to help you improve your drawing and painting skills and techniques. Whatever your preferred medium, there's something for everyone, from how to use wet-in-wet watercolour to capture the mists of autumn, paint a still life in oils over acrylics, use aerial perspective to create distance and atmosphere in your landscapes, to advice on coloured-pencil techniques for botanical subjects. Learn how to glaze your acrylic paintings for greater impact, capture the shimmering light and movement of the sea in acrylics, choose colours for maximum effect for your flower paintings, plus why not try setting up a contemporary still life for something different this month. There's an insight into 'Pete the Street' Brown's approach to working en plein air, Charles Williams' questions what we want from art, and Sally Barton explains how to paint portraits of people's houses to commission. We also include the latest art news and a host of information about competitions to enter, books and art products, offers and more for your artistic enjoyment.