Painting is a personal thing with me, something I have been doing since I was about 12 years old. I didn't begin to teach it until after I was an adult, first for my own business for 15 years, then as part of the experience Vix and I have established in Suisun City, California.
This is the photograph I will paint from. Sometimes I use a photograph, sometimes I paint from what is in my imagination. Often if I paint from imagination something that is real, I will google photos for reference. (Shape of a head, the color of something, etc.) I don't like to look at too many things because I don't want to be too influenced when I paint. Just brief references, to keep me on target with what I have worked out in my mind.
Next I start adding darker blue to establish the waves coming into the beach. Again using a 1" wash.
Taking a 1/2" wash, or bright, I take very small amounts of white paint and start to add whitecaps to the waves and surf.
Waves. (The color looks different on some photos due to changing light in the room, so not to worry...)
Whitecaps, added little by little in small strokes, smaller the farther away on the horizon, getting larger closer to the beach.
More white on the waves rolling into the beach, breaking it up to make it show more motion. Using the 1/4" flat now for tinier detail. Don't overload your brush, and if the paint builds up on it, scrape some off on the palette, or a rag (which is what I use).
Detail of the beach, where the waves are breaking toward the beach.
Water is about finished. Foamier and more white where the waves wash up onto the beach. I used the 1/4" and also the #6 round brushes for this. Went over the lines on the rocks, but that will be covered when the rocks are painted.
More sky detail. Adding some brush strokes for the clouds gives more depth.
Close up of the water near the beach.
I begin to paint the rocks in using the raw umber, black, white, and a bit of yellow. I am using the 1/2" flat brush at this point. (I use wash, bright and flat interchangeably but am talking about a flat, square, wide brush, good for filling in and also fine lines and small areas if you turn it on its side.
I start with dark areas, add light areas, then go back and forth, building the rocks from the back to the foreground.
Close up of rocks. I keep adding areas of dark and light, to suggest shadows and areas of rock in the sunlight.
Next I mix yellow, blue and white and dab on the rocks (dab is the best way to describe it) and vary the colors. Anytime you paint something like foliage, trees, rocks or most anything, the way to bring it to life, so it won't look flat, is to mix several shades of the same color, as I have done here on the water, rocks and moss.
Adding a bit more color in small amounts to the rocks.
And last, I add the waterline to the edge of the beach, so it looks like the water is washing up on the beach, and not the beach washing out on top of the water! :D
And this is the finished painting.
Now that I have taken the mystery out of painting, grab a brush and let's paint!