Motion of the Ocean, Part 3

I just realized I haven’t written a new post in 3 weeks. I have been busy working on some other things which I can post next week, but for now I want to finish up this series of studies. This is the last post in this series, and there are only 3 paintings this time, but I’m going to walk through the process of creating 2 of them. Doing these paintings has helped me figure out an approach to painting digitally in MyPaint. While they could be further developed, I’m satisfied leaving them at this stage because in the future I will be using these digital paintings only to help me figure out compositions and do thumbnails. From there I will start working on the final paintings in oil on canvas. But first I want to show my process on these digital paintings. The process in each of the 2 paintings I’ll be walking through is slightly different, as I wanted to try different things.

Above is the finished painting I’m about to talk about. As I mentioned in the previous 2 posts, the rocks exist on a separate layer and remain unchanged between each painting. As such, I’ll only be talking about and showing the process of painting the waves.

This is the first stage of the painting, roughly blocking out the colors. For anyone reading this blog interested in trying out the MyPaint program, this was done using the “Wet R-S blend” brush, from set #1 of brushes. This is the brush I do most of my painting with. It has a mostly hard edge, and the opacity is controlled with stroke pressure. A light pressure also can blend strokes already laid down. As I explained in the previous post, Motion of the Ocean Color Analysis, I’m selecting colors from swatches I sampled from my reference. The idea at this stage was simply to put the colors where the go with no attention to detail or rendering.

At this next stage, I simply blurred everything together. I did this using a couple different blending brushes, each having slightly different purposes. First, the “Blend Blur” brush from brush set #1. This simply creates a soft blur between whatever it goes over, giving somewhat of an airbrushed look. Next, the “Blend Grain” brush from the same set. This creates a dithering effect between whatever is being blending, creating little specks of the blended colors. I use this to blur the tops of the waves, as it makes it look like drops of water or mist being thrown up by the waves. Lastly, the sponge brush from brush set #2. This makes a mostly smooth blend with somewhat of a simulated water color texture to the edges. In general I blend the bottom of the waves more, so that the seem to connect with the water, and blend the top of the waves less to give a somewhat harder edge. This implies that the wave lies on a different plane that whatever is behind it. The blending should be done with discretion, and the painting should not be blended equally everywhere. I might talk more about edge quality in a later post.

At this point I just start adding some of the detail into the middle ground. You might notice that after blending, the lightest colors got kind of muddied up. The darkest colors are less dark after blending too. This is just something to notice, as it will need to be fixed later. However, for now, it gives me a nice middle tone range to work on top of. I’m mostly using a brush called “Deevad/water 1” which is the 21st brush in the brush set #2. This brush has a softer edge for painting and can give a somewhat misty look. I use it to lay in the detail and foam in the water. At this point I’m not too concerned with getting the foam as bright as it should be, I’m just softly laying it in.

This stage is mostly more of the same thing, only closer to the foreground. Notice is some areas I had to make the water slightly darker too. So I am adding in mostly lighter colors on top, but also adding some subtle darker areas.

Now I’m mostly adding in the highlights on top of the light areas I softly laid out in the previous steps. I mostly used the “Wet R-S blend” brush for this, as the brush used in the previous steps needs a lot more pressure to be as bright and opaque as I need. At this stage I am blending the highlights more as I lay them in, which is made easier by already having the soft light colors behind the highlights to blend into.

In this step, I am refining the foam of the water. I use a combination of all the previously mentioned brushes. The foam is blending paying attention to the edges; harder edges on top, softer edges towards the bottom.

The final step is to add details like the crash of the water in the foreground. This is done with a couple different brushes. First “Twisted Hair” from the tone brush set. This brush makes a lot of tiny strokes in random directions if you hold it down but if you make a quick stroke, it all the little strokes will go in the same direction. Adjusting the size of the brush adjust the size and spacing of these little strokes. Most of the splash is created with this wave, but some strokes are put in manually using the previously talked about brushes. The splatter can be made with many brushes but I used the “Fine Airbrush” brush also in the tone set.

And that’s it for the first painting. Using this process I was able to take the painting from the very blocky first step to something pretty good fairly quickly.

This is the final stage of the next painting. It is fairly similar so I won’t explain it in as much detail, but the process was somewhat different.

The biggest different in how I painted this one was how I started. I began by using the “Deevad/water 1” brush, which is much softer. As such I didn’t need to blend the painting together at the beginning as it is now already starting fairly blended. I start by ignoring almost all the foam and highlights, laying in only the midtones and shadows at this point. Again I am just laying in the colors where the go, but ignoring the lights. This let me really quickly get a great base for all the water to paint the details on top of.

The next step is very similar, but now I am only putting in the lights. I put them in roughly and ignore the lightest lights for now.

In this step I simply blended the foam. We may want some harder edges later, but since the foam should look misty, this gives us a great base to continue painting on top of later.

In this step I am adding the details in. Since I already laid in the midtones and shadows at the beginning, I just need to add in the lights. I’m still using the “Deevad/water 1” brush, to put them in softly.

Here I have just put in some lighter ripples in the middle ground and background wave, mostly on the right side of the painting.

This step is sort of the opposite of the previous, I’m adding in extra darks now. I mostly add the darks against the lights I laid in in the previous step, and blend the new darks away as it goes farther from these lights. This makes the lights pop more while not making things too dark. Note that the darks are added sparingly, just to make the other tones pop more.

Next I add the lightest lights back over the foam I softly laid in earlier. This is basically the same as the previous painting.

As with the previous painting, at the end I am refining the foam from the crashing wave in the background, and adding in more lights. Note that the lightest lights and darkest darks all both added in sparingly.

And the final step once again is the detail of the splashing water. This is done using the same brushes as the previous painting.

This is the final painting for this series of studies. I won’t talk about it too much, but the huge blurred crash of water in the foreground was fun to work on. If there is anything you think I could explain in more detail, or where I should spend less time explaining please leave a comment. I’ll leave you with an animated gif of all the paintings done for this series. Its not a perfect loop, but I think its neat to see.

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