“How did you do this?!” – step by step description with photos

posted in: Creative process | 0

This is a peek at my painting process. The piece that I made here was a commission painting which I sold 🙂 Yay!

Katherine liked my style, but wanted a bigger piece then anything I had and ever done. I said “Why don’t I try making a big piece? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it”. She decided to go for it. We agreed on the size, vertical orientation and the fact that it’s going to be a seascape. I sent her a bunch of reference photos. And I only use them to get an idea, mood and inspiration. I don’t do close direct copies.

She liked these two:

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On first – sky, turquoise water, sunset lighting. On second – the wave, she likes waves. Ok, now I have an idea of what kind of painting she would like.

So I get a HUGE canvas (24*36 inches) and get cracking.

FIRST. Get rid of the white. Block main colours.


Looks scary. Well, hang on.

SECOND. Work on the sky.


Starting to see something there. Evening sky with the last ray of warm sun on the clouds.

THIRD. Horizon line, darks into the water and wave – no lights yet, just darks and basic shapes. Block the sand – show horizontal plane moving into the painting and away from the viewer.


NOW, starting to approach light places of the painting and work on some details.


Looks like sunset on the ocean to me. I’m not going to go much lighter then this since it’s an evening scene, but I will add warm reflected light of the sky into the lightest parts of the water. Also I’m going to fine-tune foam, back waves, sky – think of all the details I want to bring out. Finishing touches. And, most importantly – SIGN IT!

TA-DA! finished painting

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Although it came out darker then reference photos, I didn’t want to change anything – it makes the last ray of sun look more dramatic on the waves and sky.

I liked it. And so did Katherine!