Day at the Beach - a Custom Oil Painting of a Mom and Her Kids at the Ocean

A Day at the Beach - oil on canvas detail
It's July and a great time for a beach painting, don't you think?

I had a request for a small oil painting of a mother and her two children looking out at the ocean as the waves crash into shore. The client provided three photos of the subject and asked that I use them however I like.

One of the photos made a perfect composition, but it was taken at an angle from above. So I changed the perspective to be closer to the same level as the figures.

To take a look at how I painted this 8x10 oil on canvas, keep reading...

I like to begin by sketching the composition on the canvas first and then paint from the top down.

There is no sky in this piece since we are still looking somewhat down at the water, so using a large flat brush, I begin with the lovely turquoise blue ocean. This is a fun part - big strokes.

The trio are sitting right by the water's edge and the foaming surf washes up to them. I add warm raw sienna color to the water to indicate the sandy beach showing through in the shallows. Then I paint the sand and shadows cast by the figures:

Next is the bright blue bathing suit of the mother. I use the same blue to indicate shadows on her back and shoulders. The skin tones are mixed from reds, yellow and white:

The mother is completed once I paint her dark brown hair and white cap. The little girl on the right has a bit cooler, lighter skin tones since she is a child:

Before going on, let's do something fun and add water washing up around the figures. To do this, I decide to use a bit of white mixed with soft blue on the edges and rippled areas leaving the sand showing through everywhere else. Lo and behold, it looks like clear water! I'm always a little amazed (and pleased) when something this simple works:

Now back to the little girl. I paint her blond hair using the same colors as used for the sand and water. It's important to maintain color consistency throughout a painting, so I stick with a palette of limited color and use that to mix whatever colors I need.

Last are the girl's colorful bathing suit...

the baby's hair and arm...

and any adjustments to color and shadows that are needed to get the results I want. Here is the finished piece (you can click any of the images to see them larger):

Mother and Children at the Beach Oil Painting on Canvas
A Day at the Beach - 8x10 custom oil painting

Ah, refreshing! It's a hot, humid day today.  A day at the beach like this would be just the thing!

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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