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Beach views

Mike Barr reveals the secrets to successful beachscapes, with tips on colours, composition and perspective
Cockling Day, Goolwa, oil on canvas, 291⁄2X291⁄2in (75X75cm).

When you step onto Goolwa beach, the sky dominates – everything seems immense. The shallows are always wide and there are always people, just walking or collecting cockles when in season. The huge sand hills disappear into the distance and this is a great way to convey the idea of space. I always think such scenes are nothing without the figures that give it scale and life. It’s important to keep the clouds looking soft and not too solid

In a nutshell, the ability to convey the illusion of space, light and distance with paint is the key to believable seascapes. For me, painting is not about seeing how close we can get our work to looking like a photograph, it’s about creating atmosphere that the viewer can feel, even though it may crafted with very few brushstrokes – artists should be skilled illusionists. Here are a few pointers to help you with your beachscapes.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the first of our new standard 80-page magazine, packed with even more inspiring practical articles to help you to improve and enjoy your own drawing and painting. In addition, this month we also include your free 16-page supplement with details of some of the best art courses and holidays available to inspire and inform your creativity, whatever your level or years of experience. So, whether you love working in watercolour, oils, pencils or acrylics, take your work to the next level with our team of passionate artist/tutors including Judi Whitton on how to use body colour in your watercolours, Haidee-Jo Summers with some useful exercises to help you loosen up in oils, Mike Barr's beachscape demonstration, Paul Talbot-Greaves on how to start with a watercolour mess and end in success, Peter Graham on why the rose makes such a wonderful subject for still-life paintings, Robert Dutton on mastering perspective for city scenes, and Peter Burgess with tips on composition and the Golden Section, to highlight just a few articles in this issue. Plus, there's so much more to guide and inspire your artistic development within our new 80-page issue - enjoy!