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Welcome to The Pastel Hangout Newsletter

In this issue, I am celebrating spring with an ocean wave painting in soft pastels. I want to share with you some of the pictures I took along the way of painting this ocean scene. This is not meant to be a lesson to follow, but I will point out a few tips as I developed the wave and I hope it may be helpful. I did not work from a photo reference but occasionally looked at several of my beach photos to ensure I was capturing the flow of the wave. 


Step 1

I am using 500 grade sanded paper, dimensions are 12 x 24. I drew out a shape of a wave and applied strokes of blue colors for my water and beige and tans for the underlying beach.


Step 2

Using 70% Isopropal alcohol and brush, I blended these areas on my paper.


Step 3

Once dried, I added darker blue to the base of the wave and beneath the cresting wave. I used a white pencil to outline where the overflowing wave should be.


Step 4

I brushed it again with some rubbing alcohol to blend the color.


Step 5

I am using light and medium blues to add some color to the gentle surf beneath the wave.


Step 6

I used a sponge applicator very lightly to create and blend the surface foam and movement in the surf.


Step 7

I started out with a small overturning wave and added some light green to the cresting wave to show some of its transparency. The base of the wave is darker.


Step 8

I added many horizontal strokes of white to the background water to illustrate distant waves and light reflections. Using the edge of my sponge applicator I pulled some of the light blue color up into the cresting wave. 


Step 9

I drew some birds along the beach for interest. I will add some reflections once the beach area is done.


Step 10

Using a light shade of blue, I added some shallow water washing onto the shoreline. I added some light reflections with my white pastel. I will add some of the bird reflections in the final details.


Step 11

Here is a sponge applicator I use for blending. I order a variety of replacement sponges of different shape sponges for my projects.


Thank you and stay safe and healthy!

Rita Ginsberg

Step 12

I use my white pastels for the last layer to complete the overlapping wave and finish the white water foam.


Step 13

I've added more shape and wave action by lengthening the wave to touch the surface of the water below and create some spray action. 


I hope you have found this process of painting a wave helpful and informative, and if you are looking for more step-by-step guides, please visit my YouTube channel at: for more in-depth soft pastel demonstrations.

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