Oil Painting, Beachscapes, Oil Paint, Beach, Family Portrait

“The Tides That Bind” 10×10 Oil on Arches Oil Paper


This is an oil painting of my nephew and his mother at the beach. The canvas size is a small 10×10 of Arches oil paper that’s mounted on gator board. The layout is based on some shots I took of the two of them as were out enjoying a day at the beach.

Oil Painting, Beachscapes, Oil Paint, Beach, Family Portrait

Initial application of paint

Initial Painting Stage

To start I laid in some random patches blue with Cobalt Blue and bit of a red using the palette knife. Right after that I start to lay in the shapes of mom’s hair and the shape of her shirt. Getting her overall shape into the canvas will make it easier to judge how to size my nephew when I begin to paint in his shapes.

Oil Painting, Beachscapes, Oil Paint, Beach, Family Portrait

Loose painting in of figure

 Building Up The Figures Cont.

Once she’s pretty much in place and I feel I have the shapes as accurate as they need to be I start to layout the shape of my nephew. I’m using Ivory Black that’s been thinned down to sketch out his placement. I start to play around the colors of the water and surf as well.

 Building Up The Figures

I continue to build up the surf with various colors. I want to capture the idea that the water is moving and be aware of how that color is changing as it moves. Some areas have more green. Others more white due to the foam being created. There’s a lot going on in that simple looking water. It would be easy to get bogged down in all those details. If I was painting the scene on the spot I wouldn’t have time to worry about all that. Since I’m at the easel in the studio I have to try to concentrate on what’s important and simplify things.

Working out the water continues on with more build up in color. This continues until I feel I’m getting to some essence of the moving water.

Building Up The Shapes In The Water

Then it’s back to cutting out more detail on the foreground figures. The shorts are painted in with the patterns. We now have some interesting texture. I also work with the edges on the figures. Soft edges contrasting with some harder edges makes things interesting and creates a sense of atmosphere.

In the above photo and the one below the shapes making up the water are pushed more until I’m happy with how I think they should look.

While that gets done I also work on the shore in the foreground by connecting colors and shapes.

 The End Game

The adjusting of edges keeps going on as well as the building up of color here and there. I work out my figures some more wherever needed. And then at some point I call it done. You have to eventually. I felt I captured what I was going after. And what was that, exactly? I guess saying something about that bond that a mother and child have with each other. If not that then perhaps the capturing of a nice day at the beach with family. I can settle with that. Until the next installment.