Painting Waves With Acrylics: 9 Best And Easy-to-Follow Steps 1

Painting Waves With Acrylics: 9 Best And Easy-to-Follow Steps

Painting waves with acrylics may seem a challenge, but as you advance, you will see that creating this type of design is fun. It allows you to improve your skills as an artist. The key technique to achieving the stunning effects of painting waves with acrylics is the artist’s patience and enhanced skills in color mixing to achieve the natural value of waves.

Painting waves with acrylics
Wave ideas – Painting Waves With Acrylics In 9 Steps!

What are the essential factors to consider to achieve dynamic painting waves with acrylics as your medium? Are there any easy steps to consider when painting waves with acrylics? What colors will you use to create natural-looking waves from your acrylic paints?



Painting Waves With Acrylics


Painting waves with acrylics may seem challenging for artists who have never been to this type of design. But rest assured that once you have tried working with your waves, you will discover that they are fun, allowing you to enhance your skills better than before.


It takes patience and a keen heart to learn a new skill. Especially if you are using acrylics as your painting medium, consider the following factors for you to succeed in this project.


It is also essential to work on your color mixing and understand how to create natural-looking colors on your painting surface. Remember that you do not need to duplicate the reference photo you are using.


Creating art is all about how you see the subject and paint it with your style. The right texture for your painting is another factor to consider in painting waves with acrylics. This will allow your paint to create the right value towards the colors.

painting waves with acrylics
Ideas on how to paint waves – Painting Waves With Acrylics In 9 Steps!

Let’s begin this new acrylics tutorial if you are ready to start painting waves with acrylics. Even if you are a beginner, you can work on this type of painting. The best part is, you are also trying to add a new skill yourself concerning painting.


Before we begin, it is ideal that you use the right materials. This will help you achieve the results that you want to achieve. Though there are different materials to use, we will try to be specific with a few to help you further understand their impact on your painting.


Factors And Materials That You Will Use For Painting Waves With Acrylics


Since you will be painting waves with acrylics, best to use the heavy body type of acrylics. It may be more pricey than basic types of acrylics. On the other hand, if your budget seems to hinder you, you can use the basic types of acrylic paints. We are just trying to achieve the right consistency of the paint through application and brush strokes.

Painting waves with acrylics
Realistic wave ideas – Painting Waves With Acrylics In 9 Steps!

The next material that you will use is a gessoed panel. You will achieve the right texture for your waves with a lightly textured surface. The gessoed panel allows your paints to be layered over with the right texture that you want to achieve.


Since acrylic paints are fast-drying, you can play with their texture over the painting surface that you will use. This will also allow you to work on the proper shifting of colors. This is essential to achieve the right value of colors formed in the waves.


The synthetic type or those nylon paint brushes are best for painting waves with acrylics. Another factor you will use in a nylon paintbrush is the sturdy structure of a gessoed panel. The brushstrokes will not be noticed with synthetic or nylon brushes.


Remember that when you are painting waves with acrylics, you will be using the colors green and blue. Getting the right combinations of green and blue for your waves and sky gives a unique impression to your painting.


There are different mixing techniques that you will learn with this activity. To create a natural color of water, wave splashes and the muted sky mix the right colors.


The combination of different colors is essential. Another excellent tip for color mixing is to avoid using black. You can create a mixture that looks like black to darken areas with the right color mixing as your primary goal. The natural black color will make your painting stand out and duplicate natural tones.

painting waves with acrylics
Painting waves with acrylics – ideas

Colors That You Will Use For Waves With Acrylic Paints


When painting waves with acrylics, it is best to prepare the following colors and mix them afterward.

  • Titanium White
  • Payne’s Grey
  • Viridian Hue
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Ultramarine
  • Prussian Blue
  • Cerulean Blue Hue
  • Phthalo Green
  • Phthalo Blue
painting waves with acrylics
Waves painting ideas with acrylics

Mixing these colors will yield stunningly natural-looking waves. There will be more color mixing to achieve a stronger hue. You will also need to blend Phthalo Green and Phthalo Blue with a touch of Titanium White to create a unique turquoise shade that is brighter than the rest. It is essential to have this contrast in certain areas in the middle of your ocean.


Having a subject image for your painting does not mean you need to duplicate the whole subject. It is just a reference photo to give you inspiration and an idea of the possible colors present in the painting.


The main reason you have a subject image is to create art that showcases the form of nature. Do not be hard on yourself when working on representational art.


The subject image of the photo allows the artist to work with the right texture of the painting. With the colors and value, you can see the subject image and real-life scenes.

How To Paint A Beach Scene With Acrylic – Step By Step Guide


Now that you have prepared all the essential materials for your artwork. It is time to try painting waves with acrylics. Remember that it may look challenging at first, but you will have fun creating this tutorial once you get the right feel and colors.


Step 1. Sketch your outline waves, horizon, and places you will want to create the splashes of waves.


Notice that your sky will be different from the reference photo. It will be muted with the right color combination of Titanium White, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine, Payne’s Grey, and Prussian Blue. Apply your paint to the painting surface.


Allow your sky to be arid before working on the waves’ color value. To secure the horizon of your artwork, best to apply painter’s tape off the line.

painting waves with acrylics
Waves painting tutorial for beginners

Step 2. Start applying colors to the distant waves on your painting surface.


The darker blue will showcase this part of your painting.


Step 3. Since you will be working on the middle part of your painting, the colors here will be a touch of green.


Step 4. Use the lighter color as you go down from the upper part to your waves.


Step 5. The foreground will have a darker color to emphasize the waves of your painting.

painting waves with acrylics
Waves painting – painting waves with acrylics

Once you have done this fundamental transition of waves and colors, you can remove the tap from the horizon. You will notice that you are already creating a unique illusion of waves.

You will notice that the different color application creates an illusion of value and waveform. You are also slowly adding texture to your painting surface.


Now you can work on your brushstrokes to pull out the illusion of waves. You can create close waves from the distant image. Next is more space waves as you move closer to the foreground.


Step 6. Establishing the right form of colors and shades in your painting.


This can be darker in color from the distant waves, lighter colors, and then try to darken it again. You can highlight the different positions of waves from their direction.


Step 7. Now we can continue adding and defining value between light and dark colors. 


You will notice that waves are starting to create shapes. The pulling and pushing of colors and the illusion of splashes are now visible.


Step 8. Work on the middle part of your painting.


The Titanium White is essential for your waves to create the illusion of splashes and define the details in your painting.


Step 9. Adding fine details to your painting.


You can now pull over those shapes and details found in the ocean waves. The brushstrokes can lead in specific directions on your painting surface.

Create the movement that you want to add to your waves.

Painting waves with acrylics is one of the most beautiful and relaxing things you can do. There’s nothing quite like the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the smell of salt in the air, and the feel of sand between your toes.


And what better way to capture that feeling than by painting a beach scene with acrylics? Most artists, beginners, and experts alike find that painting waves with acrylics is easier than it looks.


Here are a few tips to help you get started:


Use a textured canvas. 

A textured canvas will add dimension to your painting and make the waves look more realistic. You can create a textured surface by roughing up the canvas with sandpaper before you start painting.


Use a light touch.

When you’re painting the waves, use light strokes with your brush. This will help create the illusion of movement and make the waves look more realistic.


Work in layers.

Start by painting the sky, then move on to the sea. Once you’ve finished the sea, you can add in the waves. To create the illusion of movement, use different shades of blue and green for the other layers.

painting waves with acrylics
Painting waves with acrylics

Add whitecaps. 

Whitecaps are the small white waves that form on top of larger waves. To paint them, simply dip your brush in white paint and then flick it onto the canvas.


Let your painting dry before adding the finishing touches. 

Once your waves are dry, you can add the sand, shells, and other small details. This will help bring your painting to life and make it look more realistic.


Paintings of waves are always famous and with good reason. They’re beautiful, serene, and calming. And with a bit of practice, anyone can learn how to paint them. So why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself.


Painting Waves Tips For Beginners


If it’s your first time working with acrylics or you’re just starting to explore painting waves, these tips will help get you started.

painting waves with acrylics
Painting waves with acrylics – reference photo

Use reference photos


When painting any subject matter, it is always helpful to have reference photos on hand. This is especially true when painting waves since they can be tricky to capture on your own. Look for reference photos that show a variety of wave types and sizes. You can find reference photos online or make your own if you’re near the ocean.


Choose the right colors.


Acrylic paint comes in a wide range of colors, so choosing the right ones for your wave painting is essential. Consider using blue, green, and white paint for a realistic look. You can also experiment with other colors to create a more abstract painting.


Use different brush sizes.


One of the great things about acrylic paint is that it can be used with various brush sizes. You’ll want to use both small and large brushes for painting waves. Small brushes will allow you to add detail and texture to your waves. Large brushes will help you fill in larger areas of color.


Add texture


To add realism to your waves, consider adding some texture to the paint. You can do this by using a textured brush or adding sand or gravel to the wet paint.


Don’t overdo it


With any kind of painting, it’s important not to overdo it. This is especially true when painting waves. Too much detail or too many colors will make your painting look busy and cluttered. Start with a simple design, and then add more elements as you feel necessary.


You’re ready to start painting your waves with these tips in mind. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. There are no wrong answers when it comes to creating art.

painting waves with acrylics
Painting waves with acrylics – ideas for beginners

Acrylic Waves Painting Ideas To Try


There are various ways in which you can paint waves. You can use oil or watercolor. But if you want to achieve a realistic and lively look, then acrylic is the way to go. Acrylic can produce deep and vibrant colors. It also dries quickly, which is ideal if you want to work on a larger painting.


To help you get started, here are some acrylic wave painting ideas that you can try:


1. Use contrasting colors


One of the best ways to create an exciting painting is using contrasting colors. You can use a light blue color for the sky and a dark blue or green for the water for your wave painting. This will create a more dramatic effect. You can also add some white foam on the top of the waves to make them look more realistic.


2. Use a glazing technique


Another great way to create beautiful wave paintings is by using a glazing technique. This involves applying thin layers of color on top of each other. You can start with a light blue color and then add progressively darker colors on top. This will create the illusion of depth and movement in your painting.


3. Use texture mediums


If you want to add more dimension to your painting, you can try using texture mediums. These are substances that you can add to your paint to create different textures. Some of the most popular texture mediums for wave paintings include sand, salt, and glitter.

4. Use an impasto technique


If you want to create waves that look like they’re crashing onto the shore, you can try an impasto technique. This involves using thick layers of paint to create a 3D effect. You can achieve this by adding more paint to your brush and applying it to the canvas in a thick layer.


5. Paint abstract waves


If you’re not too concerned about painting realistic waves, you can also opt for an abstract approach. This involves using different colors and brushstrokes to create a unique piece of art. You can experiment with other techniques and colors to see what works best for you.


These are just some of the many acrylic wave painting ideas that you can try. So go ahead and experiment with different techniques and colors to create a beautiful painting that you’ll be proud of.


How To Paint The Ocean: Painting Techniques To Use


The basic concept of waves is not too difficult to understand. However, when it comes to painting them, that’s a whole different story. Acrylic paint is the perfect medium for painting waves because it dries quickly and can be easily manipulated to create the desired effect.

painting waves with acrylics
Painting waves with acrylics

Here are some tips on how to paint the ocean using acrylics:


Choose the right color palette. 

When it comes to painting waves, you will want to use a range of blues and greens. This will help create the illusion of depth and movement.


Use a variety of brushstrokes. 

Experiment with different brushstrokes to create texture and interest in your painting. Short strokes can be used to create foamy wave crests, while longer strokes can be used to depict the rolling motion of the waves.


Add white for highlight. 

To add realism to your painting, include some white paint in the mix. This will help create the illusion of light reflecting off the water’s surface.


Don’t forget the reflections. 

Waves are not only about the water itself but also about the reflections that they create. Be sure to include some in your painting for a complete look.


Next is to determine which painting technique works best for creating waves, which can make a big difference in the outcome. There are a few options for painting waves with acrylics, so experiment and see which one you like best.

painting waves with acrylics
Painting waves with acrylics

Wet-On-Wet Technique

This painting technique is perfect for creating smooth, realistic waves. To use the wet-on-wet technique, wet your brush with paint and apply it to the canvas. Work quickly as you don’t want the paint to dry before you have a chance to blend it.


The key to this technique is to have patience and to work slowly. If you try to rush it, the paint will dry too quickly, and you won’t be able to achieve the desired effect.


Dry-Brush Technique

The dry-brush technique is perfect for creating foamy wave crests. Dip your brush in paint and then dab most of it off on a paper towel to use this technique. You want the brush to be relatively dry before applying it to the canvas.


Once you have the desired amount of paint on your brush, quickly dab it onto the canvas in a random pattern. The key is to work quickly so that the paint doesn’t have a chance to dry before you are done.


Stippling Technique

The stippling technique is perfect for creating a realistic water surface. Dip your brush in paint and then tap it onto the canvas to use this technique. The key is to use a light touch so that the paint doesn’t glob up on the canvas.


After applying the paint to the canvas, use a clean brush to blend the colors lightly. This will help create the illusion of movement and depth.


Now that you know how to paint the ocean using acrylics, put these tips into practice and see for yourself how easy it is to achieve beautiful results. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to create stunning ocean scenes that are sure to impress.

painting waves with acrylics
wave ideas for acrylic painting

Acrylic Paint Ocean: How To Draw A Wave Easy


If you want to draw a shortwave, you need a sheet of paper and some acrylic paint. The great thing about drawing with paint is that it’s very forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can simply start over again.


Here’s how to draw an easy wave using acrylic paint:


  1. Start by sketching out the basic shape of the wave. Use a pencil to draw a curved line that starts at the top of the paper and then quickly tapers off towards the bottom.
  2. Next, begin painting the wave using blue or green acrylic paint. Start at the top of the wave and then paint down towards the bottom. As you reach the bottom, lighten up on the pressure so that the paint tapers off.
  3. To add realism to your painting, include some white paint in the mix. This will help create the illusion of light reflecting off the water’s surface.
  4. Once you have the basic shape of the wave painted, use a clean brush to blend the colors. This will help create the illusion of movement and depth.


Now that you know how to paint an easy wave, put these tips into practice and see how easy it is to achieve beautiful results. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to create stunning ocean scenes that are sure to impress.


Which Painting Medium Is Better: Watercolor Ocean Waves Hacks


Although acrylics and watercolors are great for painting ocean waves, each medium has its unique benefits. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of each medium to help you decide which one is right for you.

painting waves with acrylics
Acrylic paints – painting waves with acrylics



Acrylics are synthetic water-based paint that dries very quickly. This can be both a good and a bad thing – it’s excellent for working quickly but can be frustrating if you make a mistake and need to start over. Acrylics are also very versatile – they can be used like watercolors or built up in thicker layers like oil paints.


One of the benefits of using acrylics is that they have an extensive range of colors available. You can find just about any color you can imagine, which is excellent if you want to be precise with your painting. Acrylics are also very inexpensive, so they’re a perfect option for beginner painters.




Watercolors are made from pigment suspended in water. They have a very fluid consistency and can be challenging to control. Watercolors are best suited for more delicate paintings, such as landscapes or florals.


One of the benefits of watercolors is that they’re very portable. You can easily take them with you when you travel and set up a makeshift studio wherever you go. Watercolors are also very forgiving – if you make a mistake, you can just add more water and start over.


So, which medium is suitable for you? It depends on your personal preference and what type of painting you’re planning on doing. Both acrylics and watercolors have their unique benefits, so it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer.

painting waves with acrylics
Watercolor palettes for painting waves

FAQs On How To Paint Simple Waves


If you have ever looked at a painting of waves and thought to yourself, ‘I could never do that, ‘ this article is for you. Acrylics are the perfect medium to use when painting waves, as they have a built-in ‘flow’ agent which gives them a natural movement. Plus, they dry quickly, so you can work on multiple layers without waiting for each one to dry first.


Here are some FAQs that will help you get started painting simple waves with acrylics:


Q: What colors should I use?

A: Start with a light blue or green as your base color for a natural look. You can then add in darker shades of blue and green to create depth and shadows. If you want to paint a more fiery sunset, then start with oranges and reds.


Q: What kind of brush should I use?

A: A flat bristle brush works best for painting large areas of color. For the finer details, use a round brush.


Q: Do I need to add anything to my paint to make it flow better?

A: No, the acrylic paint should have a built-in flow agent that will help it move and flow across your canvas.


Q: What is the best way to blend colors?

A: Use a dry brush to blend colors lightly. Add a small amount of water to your paint and blend with a brush for a more seamless look.


Q: How do I create the wave effect?

A: To create waves, use a sweeping motion with your brush as you paint. For taller waves, start at the top of the canvas and work your way down. For shorter waves, start at the bottom of the canvas and work your way up.


Q: How many coats of paint should I apply?

A: You will usually need 2-3 coats of paint to create a solid, opaque wave. If you want a more translucent effect, you can apply fewer coats of paint. You can also check this blog from The Virtual Instructor for additional ideas on your next wave painting. 


Q: How do I finish my painting?

A: Once your waves are finished, you can add finishing details, such as seagulls or sailboats. Use a fine-point brush to create the finer details. If you want to give your painting a more polished look, you can apply a coat of varnish.


Popular Wave Painting


Some of the most famous wave paintings ever done by the great masters of the 1800s. The works of Eugène Delacroix, Caspar David Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner, and others show off their skills in depicting the power of waves crashing against cliffs and shorelines.


More recently, the wave paintings of American artist Richard Diebenkorn have been gaining in popularity. Diebenkorn was known for his abstract landscapes, and many of his wave paintings are done in muted shades of blue and green. These paintings often have a dreamlike quality about them, as if you are looking at the waves through a misty haze.

Famous Artist Who Painted Waves


Below are the most famous names in the world of painting waves with Acrylics.


Eugène Delacroix

Euĝène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist whose most famous wave paintings were done in the early 1800s. His works often depicted scenes of violence and passion, such as the epic painting Liberty Leading the People, which commemorates the French Revolution.


Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich was a German Romantic painter whose most famous work, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, shows a lone figure looking out over a misty landscape. Friedrich was known for his landscapes and seascapes and often used clouds and fog to create a sense of mystery and eeriness.


J.M.W. Turner

J.M.W. Turner was an English Romantic painter whose works often featured turbulent waves and tumultuous skies. He is considered one of the greatest painters of light and atmosphere, and his paintings have a dramatic effect that is still admired to this day.


Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn was an American artist most famous for his abstract landscapes. His wave paintings are usually done in muted shades of blue and green and often have a dreamlike quality about them. Diebenkorn is considered one of the greatest painters of the 20th century.


Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth was an American artist most famous for his paintings of rural life in Pennsylvania. He often painted scenes of people and animals in natural settings, and his work has been praised for its realism and emotional intensity.


Alfred Sisley

Alfred Sisley was a French Impressionist painter who is most famous for his landscapes of the Loire Valley. He often used bright colors and short brushstrokes to capture the transient effects of light and atmosphere.


Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock was an American painter most famous for his action paintings, which involved dripping and splashing paint onto the canvas. His wave paintings are usually done in a spontaneous and abstract style and often depict the power and chaos of the ocean.


Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat was a French post-Impressionist painter who is most famous for his painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Seurat often uses small, precise brushstrokes to create a sense of depth and detail.


Final Words


Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, painting waves with acrylics is a great way to create beautiful seascapes. So grab your paintbrushes and get ready to jump into the waves. Don’t forget to create seafoam when painting waves with acrylics.

Looking for other painting tutorials? Click here!


2 responses to “Painting Waves With Acrylics: 9 Best And Easy-to-Follow Steps”

  1. Ara Avatar

    Super excited! Thanks!

  2. Franklyn Odoherty Avatar

    I just want to mention I am just beginner to blogging and really liked this blog. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You absolutely come with incredible articles and reviews. Thank you for revealing your web page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *