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Sea Painting: Understanding What You're Trying to Paint

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Approach Angle of the Waves
Sea Painting: Observe the Angle of the Wave as it Approaches the Shore

When painting the sea, you need to decide what angle you're going to select for the way the waves approach the shore.

Image: ©2007 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

One of the fundamental composition decisions in a sea painting is selecting the position of the shore, and thus the direction the waves which run parallel to the shore. (There are exceptions, of course, caused by local currents, rocks, strong wind.) Is the shore at the bottom of the composition and are the waves thus coming in directly towards the viewer of the painting, or does the coast meander up the composition and thus the waves are at an angle to the bottom edge of the composition? It's not a question of one choice being better than the other. Just that you need to be aware that you have got a choice.

Make a decision about this, then ensure that all the elements you paint (waves, open sea, rocks) are consistent in direction according to this, all the way into the distance.

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