I divert from peonies to paint this simple seascape of a coast in Kittery, Maine. Although not obvious, sky and its soft glow dominate two thirds of the composition; color extends to the water at left. (In a landscape, seascape or cityscape, make sky 1/3 or 2/3 the composition space; this follows the composition Rule of Thirds.)
When the sea’s horizon is visible, it should always appear parallel with the top and bottom of the picture plane, unlike that in the photo above. But that’s not actually the case in this painting, just a result of my poor photography! Anyway, as the sky is drying, a gravelly path is suggested with Cerulean and Brown Madder, and then drips applied on damp paper create texture. At left, blue roughly begins to convey waves lapping on the beach. Note that the sky’s pink glow is still visible in the water. All these palest washes must be painted first.
Now, with mid-values and darks, shapes take form in this scene. First the distant shoreline is painted, darker at its left, paler at right. The sandy beach, painted with Cerulean and some pink, is darkest at its left point and contrasts there with the lightest value in the water. While the right (pale) side of this shape is still wet, green bushes in a creamy consistency are quickly added so that the left edge of the latter softly blends with the former. The top of this green shape is also painted dry-on-dry to suggest foliage where it meets sky.
The mass of coastal shrub and tree foliage is painted quickly, with lots of paint, and, largely, without stopping. First, the darkest, distant tree line is added carefully so that silhouettes are identifiable. Then its dark wash is brought down to the shrub line and, while still wet, the paler green, which is of a heavy cream- to toothpaste-consistency, is painted right into it with a large round brush. This adds richness to the value and enables dry-brush techniques at the path edges to be utilized. Dark green (like black) is interspersed here and there, and in the foreground, used to profile grasses against the paler water and beach.