A Season of Summer Art Starts with Beaches, Picnics and Plein Air
It only comes around once a year so you’ve got to get your creativity’s worth of summer while you can. Here are five summer art favorites to inspire painters to explore and create starting with…heading to the beach.
It’s Beach Time!
Artists deserve a bit of time in the sun (SPF applied first though). If you are looking forward to an early morning sunrise or lazy afternoon at the beach, don’t leave your art and creativity in the studio. Here’s what to do and look for when sunning on the hot sand:
+Art Hack (shout out to Teresa in Belgium for this one!): If you are painting with an easel and don’t want an uneven sight line as your easel’s legs sink into the sand, bring several screw tops from peanut butter jars and put those under the legs. It’ll distribute the weight and keep your easel upright.
+Think about what you want in an artistic beach getaway. There are nature reserves where there won’t be a lot of people and there are public beaches that will literally be crawling with the human element. There are flat and open expanses of beach and those with landscape elements that will disrupt the endless swaths of sands. Which would you be more interested in painting?
+If you are really committing to a painting session on the beach, think of a place that can give you a high(er) and low elevation look. That means, a place right on the sand with enough shore that you can paint without getting your feet flooded as well as the possibility of a cliff or nearby hill that you can climb to look out for a wider-flung view.
+Paint summer waves is all about understanding the anatomy of the wave: the underbelly in shadow, the highlighted crest and the sea spray — and that’s just at first glance. Learn more in Liz Sullivan’s Landscape Painting in Pastel: Summer Waves Video Download.
It’s World Watercolor Month!
Summer is the perfect partner for watercolor because it is a medium built for speed, ease and letting go. You can easily make it your road trip companion or beach accessory. A watercolor sketch can come together in minutes and you can even keep it to a quick pen drawing with a simple, one-color watercolor wash for accents or toning the paper overall.
It’s also something that you can do right at your kitchen table or patio with no fear of indelible paint leaving its mark. Water-based awesomeness!
If you’ve never tried it before, explore watercolor this summer starting with:
+12 tips for fun and freedom with watercolor abstraction
+Knowing all the basics about the paints themselves
+Using just six tools for pocket sketching or sketching on the go
It just so happens that this month is also World Watercolor Month. We are ringing it in with great resource for aspiring artists on techniques, demonstrations, top artists, giveaways throughout the month from our top sponsors (!) and more.
If you want to enjoy watercolor all month long, we are with you! The Artists Network Shop is offering a Watercolor Month Coupon good for 30% off a selection of watercolor resources all month long. Any one of them will ignite your creativity and get you started!
It’s Time to Show More Skin
With summer, the skin comes out. People are shedding their layers and that means the body can come into further prominence in your art during the season.
+To capture a figure’s overall stance, start with with a loose gesture drawing. Keep a sketchbook nearby and devote entire pages to capturing a figure’s stance in just a few strokes. Use those to inspire a more finished work but start there for success and liveliness.
+Skin tones change with exposure to the sun but never forget that the undertone of our skin is the key to correctly mixing a matching paint color.
+Painting the skin in direct sunlight? Be sure to choose a figure or position your model so that there are shadow shapes and highlights. These can tend to disappear in the searing sun so take artistic license or maybe wait until the sun isn’t directly overhead.
It’s a Picnic Lunch!
Summer time is the right time for still life painting, and you can definitely match the season to your objects and presentation.
+Go full-on picnic theme: red and white checkered table, picnic basket, pretty plates and an inspiring outdoor setting.
+Do a picnic variation themed to a particular locale: a campfire cookout spread or a New England lobster bake.
+Gorgeous garden staples make an inspiring and colorful still life of fruits and vegetables.
It’s a Room with a View
One of my personal favorite genres is the interior painting of a room, but it isn’t very summery…unless you add a window. An open window and figure standing nearby looking out at the blue sky? Actually, nothing could be more ‘summer’ art in my mind.
+Be sure to play with light and shadow shapes on the walls and floors of the interior. It’ll further the atmospheric qualities of your painting.
+Window dressing can be key here. If your window is looking a little lackluster, take artistic licence with a decorative lace trim, festive curtain sashes, or ornate balcony.