Ocean scene painting, especially when you are right there on the beach, is an unmistakable experience. Artists who have chosen the ocean as one of their main topics have always felt connected to their subject matter. It is no wonder, too, that once you paint an ocean scene while standing so close to it, that you will experience many of the same things as other artists did. Here are four artists who painted the ocean, and what each clearly experienced as the result.
Sublime Desolation, Faith and Hope
Caspar Friedrich's The Monk by the Sea is an iconic picture known by all artists for its sublime nature and its obvious messages of desolation against faith and hope. When you stare at the sea long enough, and watch it through all of its changing forms, you too, are likely to feel the intensity of Caspar's emotions. If you choose to reproduce some of that intensity, you will need to paint your scene on a cloudy, overcast day, just an hour before a storm.
Single Moment in Time
Claude Monet painted dozens of paintings of the ocean, most notably his Waves Breaking. This is the precise moment when the artist got up close and personal to the incoming, rising tide and the waves ceaselessly pounding headlong into the shore. Looking at it, you feel trapped in a single, powerful moment; that moment where you want to run for higher ground, but you are mesmerized by the proximity and pattern of the waves. You can even feel the cold spray from the blue waves in this painting, if you stare at it just long enough.
Threatening, Ominous Power
Artists have also felt and taken on the subject of the fierceness and threateningly ominous power of the ocean. JMW Turner's Storm at Sea is one such example. This artist painted almost exclusively ocean scenes, creating more than a thousand of them in his artistic career. You can see how the raw power of the ocean moved and fascinated him. Maybe it will move, fascinate, and inspire you, too.
Peace and Beauty
What artist does not want to experience peace and beauty? The ocean is the perfect subject for this. You hear the waves as you paint, and you see the water glistening. If you paint at sunset, like John Frederick Kensett did, maybe you will capture something peaceful and beautiful similar to his Sunset as well.
Check out a professional painter, like Susan Steven's Fine Art, for more inspiration.