Seeing The Sea

Aloha fellow artists, I am writing from my little island in the Pacific. My name is Helen Turner and I live on the western most part of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian island chain. From my little Bay of Waimea, I look west over the vast Pacific Ocean and can watch the sun sinking into the sea and passing weather fronts raining miles away.

Seascape pastel painting by Helen Turner.
Sea Of Tranquility, by Helen Turner

Everyday I ride my bike to the beach and decompress after a day in the Studio, walking the black sand beach and taking photos of interesting clouds or colorful skies.

This is what I would like to share with you.

Not all sunsets are garishly bright and vibrant, some are subtle and moody, some are peaceful and some are better looking when you turn around and see the clouds behind you, reflecting the setting sun.

Seascape pastel painting by Helen Turner.
Sea Of Dreams, by Helen Turner

My beach is a black sand beach, which makes the sunset so much darker compared to the sea, and the breaking waves pick up warm tones of the sand in ochres and reds.

I use a toned sanded paper usually the “clay” color, and of course, I have a huge selection of Unison Colour blues and violets, but the ones that come in handy are from the Daniel Greene 36 set of earth tones and the Grey set 1-18. Sometimes if the mood strikes me I will use white paper and work only in Lights.

Seascape pastel painting by Helen Turner.
Why I Love You, by Helen Turner

The sunsets I have included are not the best compositions as they have only a horizon line, so when thinking of how to make the scene more eye catching, you need a breaking wave, line of sea foam or cloud formation to keep the viewer engaged.

Seascape pastel painting by Helen Turner.
Sea Of Serenity, by Helen Turner

Pastels are so lovely to blend, or drag over another color, making sun rays. Another fun option is making sea spray by dragging the light pastel colors up lightly over the dark colors. Shadows and waves are a challenge and there are tutorials by other artists on those, but I recommend just painting as much as you can to find your own solutions!

Seascape pastel painting by Helen Turner.
Goodnight Niihau, by Helen Turner

My Studio time involves doing oil paintings more than pastels these days, so when I need to paint just for me, I choose a simple sunset to relax and play with color.

Teaching pastels is something I do “en plein air” but I have had clients ask about bringing in their elderly care patients for a lesson. A sunset is a good beginner pastel, as there is little drawing involved.

Seascape pastel painting by Helen Turner.
Waimea Pier At Dusk, by Helen Turner

I hope you have something you love to paint that brings you a sense of peace and also a reset, so when you go back to your more complex pieces, you feel that love of pastels again!

Sincerely,

Helen

Competitive Pastelling

If you use social media, then your followers can comment and “love/like” you in the virtual world, but what about entering pastel art competitions?

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5 Responses

  1. As someone brought up by the sea I can’t begin to praise how amazingly you have captured the subtle way waves move on sandy beaches. Phenomenal!

  2. Helen, Your seascapes are the best stress relief without a prescription! I find them so beautifully soothing and relaxing.

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Just Sitting Around

Those that know my work know that I’m not a landscape painter. The thought of painting trees and grass and mountains gives me the willies.

Seeing The Sea

Aloha fellow artists, I am writing from my little island in the Pacific. My name is Helen Turner and I live on the western most part of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian island chain.

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