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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > June 19 > Bring your waves to life

Bring your waves to life

Jenny Aitken explains how to make your waves so realistic that viewers will imagine they can hear the sound of them crashing to the shore

Painting movement, regardless of subject, comes with the confidence of knowledge. The ability to apply loose, throwaway strokes that add credibility and vivacity to a scene requires a balance of restraint and abandon. The more informed your wild, intuitive brushstrokes, the more you will express the sound, atmosphere and general sense of life in the air. Having photographed, sketched and stared at the sea as much as I can, I can say I’ve learned one thing – there is no substitute for time spent observing and experiencing it.

The rhythm of the sea can appear chaotic. Ever-changing it may be, but there are rules and repeating patterns.

Try to discern exactly what you are looking at and how each area is lit. In clear waves, the crests will be backlit and semi-transparent, depending on water clarity. The troughs will be darker, showing through hints of the colours beneath. The calm sea in between will reflect the colours of the sky. In identifying the repeating tones of these areas, decoding that mass of movement gets easier and you can throw a bit more paint around! Every colour you see has a meaning, and understanding it gives you freedom.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the June issue of The Artist. As we look forward to the UK summer Martin Taylor demonstrates how to paint a seasonal bluebell wood, whilst cover artist, Haidee-Jo Summers, invites us to join her in painting our gardens and focus on capturing light and colour. Learn how to control your watercolour brushwork with Hazel Soan, try sketching on the go with James Willis, bring your waves to life in your coastal scenes with Jenny Aitken, and know when and how to varnish your oil paintings with guidance from Graham Webber. Our top artist-contributors also offer advice, step-by-step demonstrations and inspirational practical features on working from different source material, painting characterful faces, how to select a core palette of colours for landscape painting, the benefits of working with water-mixable oils, the value of a positive wish list, and much more. Enter our various competitions with fantastic prizes up for grabs and understand how to use regular e-newsletters to promote your work with some great tips from our regular gallerist Mark David Hatwood. Enjoy developing your skills in all media with The Artist this month!