Home > Painting, Shellie Lewis' Art, Uncategorized > Painting at the Beach

Painting at the Beach

July 5, 2011

Watercolor paints are good to bring to the beach.  The Gum Arabic binder that holds the paints to the paper is not strong enough to adhere sand to a painting; you can let the painting dry and gently brush off any beach sand with your fingertips.  Oils or acrylics are strong enough to bind any blowing sand onto the surface of the painting, so I feel I can’t be too picky about gritty sand bits if I bring these paints to the beach. 

I like to bring my small watercolor pocket box to the beach and play around.  I like to do these small paintings for fun, but I generally consider my small beach paintings as sketches or looser works.  They’re kind of adorable and lighthearted.  With all the wind and sand blowing around, it is a little hard to focus, and watercolor is hard to work with in its own right.  With the bright sun and relaxing waves, I can’t resist bringing something to noodle around with. 

Montrose Beach in Chicago, opposite of Lake Michigan

I try to sit under a shade umbrella or in a beach cabana tent because the direct sunlight, bouncing off of the water and sand, is dazzling when you have white paper.  I leave my sunglasses on for the same reason.  I like small sized watercolor papers for portability; the watercolor post cards sold in many art supply stores are both portable and affordable.  I do bring a larger tray or watercolor palette to mix colors onto because the one that is a part of the pocket box is so small, it has become very annoying to work with.  I reuse a plastic water bottle to carry water.  A few extra paper towels or napkins and just a few select brushes added to this, and my whole beach painting studio fits easily in a small grocery bag or even my purse.

Sand Dunes in Michigan

It’s also fun to sketch people sitting of laying on the beach, especially if they don’t move around a lot.  [Free artist models!]  I like to bring a hardcover sketchbook and try to capture scenes.  This is good drawing practice.  Photography is probably the easiest medium to use on the beach.  Also, people frequently enjoy seeing you painting at the beach and will come over out of curiosity.  

Yesterday, I felt like using strong colors and decided I didn’t have to paint what was in front of me.  I just got the paper all soppy wet and had a tear at painting abstractly.  This was very fun.  Also the reds in the first painting are a rather good match to a friend who came with me and declined to use sun-blocking lotion on his face.  Maybe I should title the painting “The Day Bill Burned Bright Red”.  Or is that a little nasty tempered?  At least, in the interest of mercy, I showed him where to find the aloe vera gel that contains Lidocaine at the pharmacy near my apartment. 


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