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Art Hacks for Smooth Sailing When Painting All Things Seascape

Art hacks for all things seascape to assure every artist smooth sailing and no need for an SOS signal of any kind, from alternative brushes, a 1-2-3 watercolor seascape and tropics in a glass.

Seascape painting in watercolor is three steps away.

Getty Images

Water Ways

Painting all the essentials of a watercolor seascape, from skyline to horizon to shore, is as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Heavily load your biggest brush with the color mix of your choice.

2. Starting at the upper corner of your paper, place a nonstop horizontal stroke with light pressure.

3. Repeat this horizontal stroke, slightly overlapping your previous stroke. Increase the pressure with each stroke until you reach the shore, which is your heavily colored foreground.

Offline versions of online maps can be great when you are in out-of-the-way places. Getty Images

Offline versions of online maps can be great when you are in out-of-the-way places. Getty Images

Get Going

Once you’ve set out for your local watering hole, don’t get stopped in your tracks when you forget the way and Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found. Google Maps has an offline feature— before you set out, just download the map for your destination.

Forget your paintbrush? Paint your seascape with a spork! Getty Images

Forget your paintbrush? Paint your seascape with a spork! Getty Images

Forget the Brush

Up a creek without a, err, painting implement? No SOS needed. Use an alternative and embrace all the new marks you make. Here are a few inspirations to get you started:

● Use a bottle top for circular smudges á la Seurat.

● A tightly rolled piece of tin foil or paper makes a temporary brush.

● Scrape geometric forms with a fork, knife or spoon—or spork!

● Doctors say Q-tips aren’t for ears. Artists agree. Paint with them!

● An arm of your sunglasses is a palette knife in waiting.

● Your fingers are the best brushes you’ll never leave home without.

Pastel painting by Jeanne Rossier Smith

Pastel painting by Jeanne Rossier Smith

Landlubbing Matters

The immediate landscape around the sea can provide a much-needed backdrop to all those crashing waves and glistening waters. Learn all the tricks seafarers know of landlubbing, at least when it comes to pastel presentations, in the Coastal Landscape Dunes & Grasses video download from artist and instructor Jeanne Rossier Smith. Get yours instantly!

Seascapes painting? You need a slushy

Getty Images

Tropics in a Glass — Stay Hydrated with a BYO Slushy

Nothing says “coastal art” like a nice cold beverage. Artists tote plenty of gear when trekking out to paint crashing waves in person, so keep it light by putting all the ingredients in a ziplock storage bag. Cheers!


3 cups of watermelon chunks

1 lime, juiced mercilessly

2 tablespoons of liquid sweetener — agave juice, simple syrup or honey

Sprinkle of kosher salt

1 (optional) shot of your favorite grown-up beverage


Puree until smooth. Freeze the drink contents in a ziplock pouch the night before your painting expedition. Pop the pouch into your snack sack as you leave. By the time you’re ready to sip it up, the drink will be slushy perfection. Just don’t forget a straw!

Go Gray

A gray blanket on your site helps control sand dust-up and reduces discoloration from reflected light.

Send Us Your Hacks!

Spill your studio secrets! Email your favorite art hacks to with the subject line “Art Hacks.”

Future editions of Art Hacks will feature a winning reader’s art hack and a prize. Next month, we are giving away a collection of books that will make your studio shelves swoon!


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