Fearless Friday, Breaking Waves

I posted a tutorial about this painting 2 years ago, long before Fearless Friday was born

I have had a very busy end of May, and sadly haven’t touched my paint brushes or pens, but I hope to make up for it in the next few weeks



I hope you don’t mind the revisit to Breaking Waves, it’s one of my favorite paintings and deconstructs the mystery of painting water and the adventure of using unpredictable colors

This painting was done for my daughter, whose house is decorated in mostly gray and white


It’s in her entry and you can see it from her living room below where another of her commissions, Cool Calm & Collected, hangs


Painting is not a mysterious magical process, but rather just a series of steps and layers of colors and shapes…



I usually paint with a very limited palette and mix my own colors. This helps keep the finished work uniform and cohesive

For this acrylic painting I used Titantium White, Cerulan blue, Hanza Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium and Naphthol red light.  I used black gesso for the underpainting




I always paint  the entire canvas with an underpainting, either a complementary color of the main color in the painting or black as for this painting


this canvas is 30″ x 40″


I slowly added layers of color and shapes, working from a reference photo of the ocean


I generally try to complete a painting in one session, to keep the flow and the colors consistent.  The worse thing you can do is overwork a painting.  If you get stuck, walk away for a while, an hour, a day, but not too long or you’ll loose your feel


After laying in the exaggerated colors, I tone them down so just little highlights of them will show


beaking waves thepaintedapron.com

It became a little too lavender, so I made some further adjustments


breaking waves 2 thepaintedapron.com

This painting took about 3 hours


breaking waves 1 thepaintedapron.com

Let’s take it off the easel and see how it looks on the wall



Below you can see some close ups of details



You can still see lots of colors peeking through


which helps create interest and depth


color detail 2 thepaintedapron.com


Be Fearless!

🎨   🌊   🎨  🌊   🎨   🌊

I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs:

Rustic and RefinedBetween Naps on the PorchCelebrate and Decorate,

Coastal CharmCooking and Crafting with J&J,  The Scoop,   A Stroll Thru Life 

Lori’s Culinary Creations,   Moonlight and Mason Jars

Full Plate Thursday  Foodie Friday & Everything Else

Share it One More Time   Delicious Dishes Recipe Party     Foodie Friends Friday

20 Responses to “Fearless Friday, Breaking Waves”
  1. Thank you Jenna! Capturing the movement of the sea is not easy and this was helpful. I remember an oil of the breakers in Stone Harbor NJ I had completed and just wasn’t happy with. I was at the Boston Museum of Fine Art and stood transfixed in front of a Renoir sea scape. I snapped a picture, came home and reworked my painting with more blacks and browns in the waves and now I love it. Close up of the Renoir

    My reworked breakers.

    And finally, a reworked abstract with the oil/wax medium and silver foil of just the crashing wave.

    Johanne Lamarche


    • Thank you Johanne. I would love to see your photos but some how they aren’t coming through attached to the comment reply. Can you email them when you get a chance?

  2. All I can say is that you do TOTALLY FABULOUS water! I can see how I can apply some but not all of this (the dark starting color) to watercolor and maybe this summer when things calm down will give it a try! If I do, I’ll let you know!

  3. Jenna, I love your work…always fabulous. The only thing I can really paint well are walls, and I don’t like to do it! Happy weekend!

  4. Love your painting. I don’t think mine would look anything like this even if you were holding the end of my brush! Have a fabulous weekend.

  5. Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

    I love trying to paint water, and find it very difficult. I’m so impressed. This is beautiful.

  6. Jodi says:

    fearlessly fabulous!!! thanks for sharing!

  7. Jill Kuhn says:

    Loved seeing your progress photos! So beautiful Jenna!! 🌊💕

  8. Kim says:

    I see what you do, the process, the colors, and I still know I could never do it (without lessons or something). I so enjoy seeing your work, though. My mother is an artist, and she paints an undercoating of black so her Magnolia blooms stand out. It has gorgeous results – in her paintings and in yours!

  9. chrisscheuer415 says:

    Such a gift you have Jenna and how fun to see the process. You make it look so simple!

  10. Mary says:

    Jenna, I know your daughter is thrilled to have your custom creations and art hanging in her home! Hope you enjoy some therapeutic painting time this week 🙂

  11. Julie says:

    Hi Jenna, i love your breaking waves painting. You are so talented.
    Thanks for sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the week.
    Julie xo

  12. LOVE this painting so much, and love your walkthrough of your steps. You definitely make it sound easy. But, putting brush to canvas is another issue entirely. I love your tip to use a limited palette to make it more cohesive. That makes SO MUCH sense! Thanks for sharing!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] “Breaking Waves,” below, the bright whites in the lower left grab your attention and then your eye is led by the […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: