Acrylic Paintings: Ocean Studies 1, 2 and 3

Experimenting has never been more fun ~ this past weekend I decided to set aside oil pastels and try my hand at painting ocean scenes using acrylic paints.  These scenes are studies that I plan to paint each week as I learn the nuances for painting with acrylics.  My goal is get familiar with brushes, mixing colors, brush strokes (regular strokes to scumbling) and finally techniques.  Mixing colors is a blast, the incredible range of subtle tones you can achieve is awesome nothing like oil pastel sticks, and there was no fighting with trying to lay down layer after layer (as there is with oil pastels).

Click onto the images for larger and better viewing of the paintings.

Ocean Study 1 (night scene):  acrylic paints (10×8) on a hardboard.  This was an attempt to paint a night scene using blue/green as overall tone.  I left the dark area at top-left of clouds, it was a study and I didn’t want to waste paint mixing for more clouds.

Ocean Study 1Ocean Study 2:  acrylics (8×10) painted on a hardboard.   Goal was to paint cliff hillsides receding into the distance as the surf came ashore.  Rock details were left at minimum.

Ocean Study 2Ocean Study 3:  acrylics (8×10) painted on a hardboard.   The attempt was to paint rocks taking a pounding from the incoming wave.  I left rock details to a minimum, this was more about mixing my own greens and light browns, and working the surf/sea-foam.

Ocean Study 3

Ultramarine blue is the only acrylic blue in my painting box, it’s not my go-to blue to use  – Phthalo and Cobalt blues are my favorites that I need to buy.

Talk about buying – Nebraska Furniture Mart had a huge sale last week on Vanguard Tri-Pods, regularly $130 on sale for $19.99!  Can you guess what I bought to use for photographing my artwork?  Making a big difference in clearer shots already – although for my blog, I’m still not posting high-resolution images of my work!


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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109 Responses to Acrylic Paintings: Ocean Studies 1, 2 and 3

  1. Feels like I am hearing breaking waves at the beach! Excellent! Pressed to reblog later 🙂

  2. Wow, here you are with acrylics. You’re an amazing artist. I’m so glad I checked in and got to see these. They are very good. I feel like I’m right in these paintings.

  3. I’m loving your acrylic work. Really beautiful!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Elena – it will be slow going, as I try to manage brush work and learn the technicals of mixing paint. But that is what’s very exciting about learning a new medium. Thanks a lot!!

  4. ĽAdelaide says:

    Hi Mary…. I can see your incredible drawing skill in these and can hardly believe you are just trying acrylics for the first time. Very impressive. Have a wonderful painting weekend!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Linda, thank you so much I really appreciate your comment – means a lot. Trying the acrylics was fun, I’ve another started that will post in the next couple of days. Best wishes with Artspan, I would love to hear how you like it once it’s been running for a while.

  5. Aquileana says:

    Remarkable paintings, dear Mary!. Thanks for sharing your talent with us!… Happy weekend and best wishes. Aquileana 😀

  6. Andrew Seal says:

    This is a wonderful series of paintings Mary. They have the power and beauty of some of the best paintings of seascapes and crashing waves; beautifully done 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Andrew for your generous comment on this series. I loved the way the acrylics responded – I have another started but have had to set aside for a few days. Thanks again ~

  7. Leya says:

    It sounds like you are feeling as free as the paintings reveal to us – good! They all speak to me – but the first one speaks louder! A strong feeling.

  8. Marick says:

    My favourite is the night scene. Beautiful, easy to look at. 🙂

  9. ladyfi says:

    Wow – truly stunning!

  10. Heartafire says:

    You are a fabulous artist Mary! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Beautiful, Mary – such subtle colours, and such a feeling of freedom. Enjoy those paints. I got the same feeling when I turned away from my usual drawing pen and watercolour and started in on gouache and coloured pencils. And you will probably go back to oil pastels with renewed energy after working with other media.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Cara for your thoughts and feedback on the paintings. I can identify with you, I just needed a break from the struggle. After reading your note I’m hoping that happens and I find a new-found energy with oil pastels – I think I will and perhaps even approach the work differently.

  12. nutsfortreasure says:

    I loved them all 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Eunice! I was thinking of you when painting these. Knowing how creative your pieces are – I had some of that going on. Well not to your extent, but who knows maybe one day an abstract will flow out onto the canvas. Hope you are well and Mom too!

      • nutsfortreasure says:

        Mom and I head to see her surgeon on Tuesday hope she is really OK. I was bit by a Black Widow on Wednesday evening 😦 damn if I ever get to have a boring life I swear. I make the screwiest of art pieces yours are amazing. Are you on Facebook?

  13. Beautiful paintings. I love No 2

  14. A.PROMPTreply says:

    I love the powerful, mysterious, and even peaceful hideaway you’ve shown us in the first one, Mary. I’d like to be there….

  15. jvandervlugt says:

    All three look great. Personally, my favorite is the night storm scene. Brrrr. It feels menacing. 👍

  16. restlessjo says:

    That night scene is riveting! 🙂

  17. I agree with the previous commenter. All three pieces are beautiful.

    If I had to pick a fave, I would go with the first piece. I love the dark, calm atmosphere. It find it quite inviting.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much – it was a great scene to work out. At the very end I took a painters knife to see what could be done, I need more work in this area, but can see the potential for straight cliffs..

  18. Alok Singhal says:

    This is stunning work…i enlarged them and went through the details.

  19. These are beautiful, Mary! I like acrylics a lot, but I still go back to watercolor more often. The ocean water is difficult to paint in either medium, but you captured them wonderfully! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Patsy – the acrylics to use as a painting medium is very new (outside of underpaintings) and has been a lot of learning, ah-ha moments and just fun.

  20. Amy says:

    The night scene must be hard to paint, this one is beautifully done. I love the pounding of the rocks, can almost hear it. Thank you for sharing, Mary! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Amy. Yes, the night scene was different in terms of colors and value treatment, darker for me – but enjoyable none-the-less. I’m glad you enjoyed the paintings.

  21. dsaquarelles says:

    You can jump from pastel to acrylic!Very beautiful! You are so gifted! the 2 is my favorite!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks very much Dsaquarelles. Working my way through the learning process of acrylics and I’m finding it all fascinating. Amazing how many times you can go in and change an aspect of an acrylic painting, with OPs you are limited once you loose the tooth. I’m totally enjoying myself.

  22. exiledprospero says:

    Of study #1: positively Turneresque, Mary. You should do more acrylic work. Fabulous colors.

    • Mary says:

      You are very kind my friend, amazing compliment – thank you! Mixing the colors kept me fascinated for a long time – the range for in a hue blew me away, that is one of the things not possible with OPs. The first painting was my first and an eye-opener on what is possible with this medium besides used as an underpainting. The plan is to do many more ocean studies with acrylics and perhaps one day even graduate to a larger size. Thanks Propsero!

      • exiledprospero says:

        Interesting about the size. I never pay attention to the size. I assume all your paintings are murals! 8×10 is not very big. A small canvas with a big punch though.

  23. Michael says:

    These are amazing! I like another commenter like #2.

  24. aFrankAngle says:

    The first one captures my attention the most.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Frank!! I tried using a painters knife on the rocks, need a lot of practice but I could see what a benefit it would be to these types of structures.

  25. You’re all beautiful, but that second one is amazing. You have amazing skills. Blows me away!

  26. Gallivanta says:

    You will be an expert in no time. It is fun to try something new. 🙂

  27. These are all very good

  28. anna77dennis says:

    Great atmosphere in all paintings, they are lovely. Im sure acrylics are a lot of fun because unlike oil pastels they dry quicker and you can mix colours and use glazes too!

    • Mary says:

      An awesome experience painting with acrylics Anna – really felt liberating, a free-up from all the constraints of oil pastels with developing the sea-foam. Thank you so much and appreciate your feedback!

  29. Paul Beech says:

    Gosh, Mary, you seem to have got the hang of acrylics straight off: these are great! Wish I had the first two to hang on our walls – I’m sure my partner Maureen would love them! We’re both much into marine art.



    • Mary says:

      Thank you Paul – a beautiful compliment and glad you enjoyed the scenes. Marine paintings are my favorite subject to paint, something that becomes very magical about the sea – a connection and power that is very difficult to capture on canvas. I’m thrilled to have finally given myself permission to try and see what I could do with acrylics – more ocean studies to come!

  30. Nicodemas says:

    Beautiful paintings Mary.

  31. dorannrule says:

    #2 is my favorite! It doesn’t matter the medium, you excel.

  32. I can feel your excitement, Mary. Your studies are amazing. Love the moodiness of the night scene but they’re all wonderful. Keep having fun!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Geralyn for your feedback – it was nice to take a break from the norm and try something new. Glad you enjoyed the scenes, the night scene was cool to work out.

  33. Hi Mary,
    Good to see how much fun you are having with the acrylics! They certainly perform differently then the oil pastels, don’t they? Nice studies here. Looking forward to seeing more of what transpires.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Rita, thanks so much – there was a lot of freedom to just enjoy the process and see where it took me. Your right, they do perform differently, but I got to say it was great mixing the colors and achieving a wide variety of tones – that was awesome. But it was the work and thickness of the sea-foam that sold me, so much easier than OPs. I’ll still paint oil pastels, but ocean scenes will be acrylics at least for a while.

  34. Oh, Mary….I am struck dumb by your wonderful handling of the acrylics…these “experiments” are full of beauty and freedom. The brush can be a liberating tool.

    • Mary says:

      Can you believe it Cynthia – you could say that this weekend I just got fed up with fighting oil pastels when trying to paint layers for sea-foam and wave action. So looking at my box of acrylic paints I thought why not give it a try – I really did have a ball and talk about the amazing color mixing – yeah I was loving it. I’ll need to spend some time in getting a little more in control of foreground details, but that will come with time. Thanks Cynthia, I’ll bet this was a total surprise!!

  35. there is such expression and intense feeling in your paintings…majestic! love them all!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you very much Johannis – great to hear from you. Painting the sea is pretty magical experience and there is many a time that I could feel the waves and atmosphere while painting it. Glad you enjoyed the paintings, thanks again ~

  36. 7128788elf says:

    These are wonderful atmospheric pieces, i could look at these for hours, or have them on my wall. Thanks for all the likes on my blog, best wishes and blessings, Charles.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Charles for your nice comment on these scenes, truly a compliment and I really appreciate it. I really enjoy your writings and hope you continue to post them for a long time.

      • 7128788elf says:

        Hi Mary, thanks for the reply, I am enjoying writing each night, though sometimes I am so tired and un-creative, that I almost get into a panic as to whether I would be able to write a worthy poem. So far so good! Best wishes and blessings. Charles.

  37. Wow! You’ve really taken to acrylics and produced amazing images, Mary. I wonder if they’re easier to work with than oils. 😕

    • Mary says:

      Oh Sylvia you know how to make my day! Thanks very much – had a lot of fun and it was so refreshing to not struggle with those oil pastels in trying to paint convincing sea-foam. Yes, it is really different to paint with liquid paints, for mixing your own colors and painting with paint brushes vs the oil pastels that are in stick form and it’s a process of using your fingers and clay shapers to move the pastel around. While conceptually it’s the same, the how to is very different. So this has now given me another medium to paint with and enjoy.

  38. Oh, Mary, is this a weekend’s crop?! You’ve been extra busy and creative, and look at the outcome! Excellent work! 🙂 Isn’t it rewarding?! Happy new week, Mary. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Ah Marina this was so much fun and totally relaxing – I think the change over to acrylics for ocean scenes was just what I was looking for. Thank you so much and glad you enjoyed. Hope you are well and Happy New Week to you as well my friend.

  39. Wow Mary…these are beautiful….they look like you have been painting with acrylics for years.
    Bravo:) Janet

    • Mary says:

      Wow Janet, thank you so much for your compliment- means a lot. I totally enjoyed this change of pace and will probably lean toward painting future ocean scenes (large and small) with acrylics – loved mixing the colors!!

  40. These are really intense especially the top one. Fantastic!

  41. Resa says:

    Love this new area you are adding to your repertoire! All 3 images are gorgeous, Mary, and I don’t blame you for not using hi-res photography for your blog. I just do graffiti & have had many images stolen. Now I use a lower res for posting. It seems the thieves love quality.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Resa – it was a great change of pace to produce one of my very favorite subjects in acrylics. Glad you enjoyed the scenes. I hear you, I’m really tired of chasing after my stolen images – you have some great graffiti shots, too bad to hear that they have been stolen too. Bloggers unite!!

      • Resa says:

        On top of it all, I thought I’d Google Graffiti Lux and Murals, just for the heck of it.
        So, there’s another site that starts with Graffiti Lux and Murals (the URL is totally different) so I go there. It is a fake home decorating blog & I see names of blogs I follow in bold. I’m like what? All of a sudden a pic of an operator pops up and says our agents are here to chat. I believe it said “Apple” Agents.
        I got out of there immediately.
        Obviously a phishing site.
        I took a screen shot of the search result w/the URL, but I am not sure where to report it!
        Bloggers Unite!

  42. The power and vibrancy of the waves have been amazingly put in the paintings… I loved the first one most but yes, all three are amazing… 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Maniparna for your beautiful comment – I love painting ocean scenes and have been hampered by oil pastels, finally gave into the temptation of painting them in acrylic. I enjoyed your description ~ waves are a powerful vessel of the ocean.

  43. Carol King says:

    Hi Mary, these ocean scenes are spectacular. I can feel the rush and power of the water. I love the surf in the middle one, but all three are just beautiful.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Carol – I just needed a break from fighting with oil pastels in making good surf/sea-foam. I loved working with the acrylics. Really appreciate it!!

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