Painting An Easy Shoreline Scene With Calm Water

This lesson is an easy introduction to painting calm water and shoreline scenes. The underlying drawing is very easy to draw by hand. The painting use a simple set of colors a couple brushes and uses basic watercolor techniques.

If you’ve always been afraid of water and seascapes, this is a good place to start.

Seascape Shoreline Scene

Seascapes are an attractive subject, but many find them difficult and intimidating.  This shows how to paint an easy seascape scene.  If seascapes are fearful for you, this is the lesson to try.

Keep It Simple

To make it easy, we’ll keep it very simple.  The composition uses simple shapes for the landmasses and the groups of rocks at the waters edge. We’ll also paint very calm water using the wet-into-wet technique for subtle changes and gradations – capturing the look of calm water.   We’ll keep details to a minimun as well. Instead we’ll rely on a strong composition constructed with several large and well-interlocked value shapes.

Our color palette will also be simplified. We’ll use four basic colors to create a quiet mood.

This lesson uses a few basic watercolor painting techniques. They are easy to use and understand. They also the same ones you’ll use in more ambitious paintings.

Concentrate on Composition

You’ll find that any painting constructed with large value shapes will carry the painting along without the necessity of much detail.  This painting takes that approach and saves the details for important parts of the painting. Where we aren’t adding a lot of detail, we’ll apply expressive brush strokes that will give the impression of detail and let the viewers imagination take over.

The lesson starts with the basic drawing and moves into the actual painting.  The lesson shows the painting at a size of 11″x15, but the downloadable drawing layout is somewhat smaller.

Transferring the Drawing Layout

The downloadable layouts are done with heavy lines to make it easy to see and copy onto your watercolor paper. It is best not to draw the lines too heavy on your paper, especially in the sky, since there is a good chance the lines will show through the paint. It’s not a deal-breaker, but those heavy pencil lines are sometimes a distraction.

Materials Needed

Related Lessons

Painting Water – Two Ideas And Methods

image of a lake with methods and ideas to paint water in watercolor“Horizontal-ness and Reflections” – Getting these two things right will make the water in your paintings look right every time!

Water has two important characteristics. Creating a believable sense of water in your paintings means creating the illusion of these two characteristics.

This lesson expands on the idea of ripples and uses linear perspective to add to the sense of movement, rhythm, space and distance. 

How To Paint Water

An example of an easy way to paint reflections in waterThis set of lessons teaches the basic ideas, techniques and methods needed to get great looking water in your watercolor paintings.

Water is one of the more challenging subjects in to paint. It has several important characteristics to dublicate and it very complex – even the stillest of water is constantly moving.

These lessons will guide you through by showing what you need to know and demonstrating the techniques that work.

Landscape Painting Lessons

rural scene with barn watercolor painting

Seascape Painting Lessons

Still Life & Floral Painting Lessons