Sunday, February 07, 2016

Bermuda Longtails, Beach and Seascape Painting Commissioned Watercolor

A few months ago, a lovely lady contacted me about my Bermuda Collection. She and her husband wished to give his mother a special painting for Christmas to remember a vacation the three took in Bermuda.

Bermuda Longtails 5x7 watercolor
Her mother-in-law loved watching the Bermuda Longtails as they flew between the coral cliffs and turquoise water. The painting on the left was the perfect choice, but it was sold. So I agreed to paint a new one for her at a larger size. I was happy to visit Bermuda again at the easel!

I'll share the process of painting the 12x16 version with you, so if you'd like to see, keep on reading.

First of all, my client asked for the foreground bird to be a bit farther away because they did not see the birds as close as I had. So I made a small watercolor sketch for her approval:


She loved it, so onward with the larger painting!

I begin with the sky. I wet the clouds with clear water first, then paint around them with blue for the sky, then paint the cloud shadows with a mix of blue and rose letting the colors blend together to give the clouds a soft look. It all must be done quickly before the paint dries:


I paint around the white birds. With watercolor, white is made by leaving the white paper showing rather than using white paint.


When the sky is finished, I paint the ocean beginning at the horizon line. The horizon is soft, cool and muted to make it look far away. I use pale washes of French Ultramarine Blue and Permanent Rose:


As the water comes closer to shore, I add the warmer, more intense colors of cobalt turquoise and Winsor blue:


When the rusty brown color of the rocks is added, the ocean looks more vibrant. Orange is the opposite (complement) of blue on the color wheel. Using complements next to each other makes each color vibrate and look more intense. The brown of the rocks is orange enough to allow this to happen:


The Longtails are next. These seabirds are so beautiful! It's quite an experience to see them fly right by you. Their pure white feathers reflect the color of the water so they almost look turquoise themselves.


Once I paint the beach, the painting is finished. You can click the image to see it larger. My client gave this 12x16 inch painting to her mother-in-law, but I included the small study shown above as a surprise for her and her husband to enjoy.

Two Bermuda Longtails fly over the Bermuda South Shore
Bermuda Longtails 12x16 inch Watercolor Painting Commission


I'm happy to take custom orders. Contact me for a custom painting of your pet, home, garden, grandkids, favorite vacation spot or whatever your heart desires.
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1 comment:

Sandra Meek Wilkes said...

I love it. Looking forward to seeing your process!