Acrylic Sea Painting: My Study of Don Demers Video Demo


Three years ago I bought a video made by Don Demers that concentrated on “Marine Painting:  Art of the Wave.”  Don, a premier master artist of marine paintings, has some of the most extraordinary wave paintings I’ve seen by any contemporary painter in my time and it doesn’t surprise me of the sheer number of awards he has won.

When I saw that Mr. Demers produced a video I didn’t hesitate to purchase because I wanted to get better painting the sea, but also to gain an understanding of his thinking as he painted waves.  My first viewing of the video I put it down (for three years – this guy was too intense for a new artist like myself),  he knew the sea but was too advanced for my understanding (being able to interpret oil painting vs. oil pastels, mixing colors, and brush techniques).

This past week I picked up the video again to see if I could follow along, now that I’m painting the sea in acrylics.  I watched the video with new eyes and understanding, and decided to attempt to paint along.   My painting doesn’t match Mr. Demers’ (medium, colors and technical know-how), but the lessons learned were invaluable for the thought process, steps in building a wave, mixing colors and distinguishing shadows and light within sea-foam.

Here is my study.  While there are areas to be re-worked, it’s a study not of perfection but for learning how to paint a better wave – click onto the image for a larger view of the details.

Study of Don Demers Video Demo

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About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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58 Responses to Acrylic Sea Painting: My Study of Don Demers Video Demo

  1. I like it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. The light and shade..so perfectly done!…

  3. aFrankAngle says:

    Wonderful progress since I last saw this.

  4. preeti says:

    very nice mary u did a very good job superb painting

  5. Amy says:

    Love the colors, shadows, and light of this painting. Truly a beautiful painting, Mary!

  6. I can feel the movement of the waves!

  7. dorannrule says:

    Looks beautiful to me, and I am an expert at loving the sea. 🙂

  8. Mary, you have produced a powerful painting, full of verve and vivacity and luminosity. I always love your seascapes that lure me into their magical movement.

  9. Marick says:

    Wow! Great job catching that ray of sunlight hitting that one section of water…. that wave is close to mesmerising! I love love love the green… you mix your paint colours really well, I think. They look so natural. 🙂
    This painting makes me wanna go swimming and ride the waves!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Pauline, thank you for your thoughts and artistic eye with the painting. Love your reaction to the sunlight because that’s exactly what was intended, the sunlight hitting that one area. Working hard to develop a sense for mixing colors, especially the greens – thanks for noticing it’s coming along.

  10. Painting for Joy says:

    Awesome Mary! Love the green tones and the energy. Looks like you absorbed the information well!! 👍🏻

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Rhonda so much, I learned a lot from the video and experience of following along especially with light and shadows. His thought process helped me resolved some painting issues with the sea that I had and hopefully I’ll be able to carry through future sea paintings. Really appreciate your feedback, have a great weekend.

  11. Madhu says:

    Wow indeed! Seems like perfection to me Mary 🙂

  12. Spectacular waves, Mary! Oh, but we learn each and every time we draw something new! It looks finished to me! 🙂 xx

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Marina – it was a great scene to learn from. I really enjoyed this experience and can see how the instruction will stay with me when I paint another wave scene. Appreciate your encouragement and enthusiastic response my friend.

  13. Looks like someone was paying attention in class. Beautiful, Mary!

  14. Woo! Yes, I checked. I have goosebumps! This is a powerful, free, smashing and crashing work of art right here. Thank you for the beautiful wake up and celebration of the ocean, Mary! Well done!!

  15. Rose says:

    You have prepared yourself for the advanced techniques.. and it shows! Great work, Mary.. I can feel the power of the waves!

  16. Don says:

    I think your waves are marvellous Mary. The curl and the fall of the water is so well done and it certainly is how I have come to experience waves. I think a touch, not too much, of more translucency will make it pop even more, but that’s just something I perceive. Really good.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Don – love reading your assessment. Thank you for your suggestion on the translucency – something I must get much better at. There was a bit more of it in the foreground wave and build-up to the right, but at the last minute as I was laying and scrubbing in sea-foam spindles/trails I decided I didn’t like the way they looked – change them and ended up loosing the little translucency I had. Then I couldn’t get it back as the area got a bit muddy. It’s a subject that I’m going to have to work on with more focus and practice. Great feedback thanks!

      • Don says:

        You know Mary I feel, rightly or wrongly so, in many sea scapes artists tend to go over the top with translucency and it looks almost unnatural. It kind of becomes a gimmick. But yours are robust with a power and a strength and a degree opacity that is real.

        • Mary says:

          Don I can’t thank you enough for your generous compliment. I understand what you are eluding too and I’ve been trying really hard to create as natural an environment that I’m able too at my level. Thank you for your sound advice and interest, means a lot.

  17. I haven’t seen his, but this captures the colours and the movement so well

  18. Good morning Mary…..what a superb job….I am so pleased that your new work is flourishing…janet. 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Hi Janet, thank you! It’s been a real joy to learn acrylics – can’t tell you how liberating they are in painting the sea. Still much to learn by way of technicals and color mixing, but I’m in a comfortable place and that tells me I made a good choice by switching up my medium.

  19. Fabio says:

    Hello Mary, It is a difficult subject, and you did it so well! Love the waves! And I also love the beautiful sky! Bravo! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Hello Fabio, thanks very much. It took a while to develop the sky, I’m still working on how to develop a sky with a brush – thanks for noticing.

  20. Ogee says:

    I so admire your dedication to your art – and the hard work of making art. Beautifully done, Mary.

  21. Nicodemas says:

    Mary this is beautiful!

  22. Jet Eliot says:

    How very exciting, Mary, for you to have advanced in your art to now comprehend the video. 🙂 Lovely painting.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks you Jet – it was a big deal for me. He really overwhelmed me the first time I saw the video, I could feel his intensity coming through as he was speaking and painting – I really had to back away. But this time when I watched I was ready. Thank you, means a lot.

  23. Your waves seem to be getting more wild and free with each study….

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Cynthia – this was a very good learning session. The more I do of these scenes, I feel freer to stretch and not be intimated by capturing the movement.

  24. It’s beautiful, Mary. You have a way with water!

  25. Wow, these are real surfers’ waves, Mary. Gorgeous! 🙂

  26. Resa says:

    Sounds like you had a great lesson. Let me rephrase! It looks like you had a great lesson.
    Your study is lovely!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Resa, I learned a lot from studying his work and his video – amazing when an accomplished artist gives back to those of us just starting out, so we might learn through their own experiences.

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