painting outdoors at the beach with watercolor - Gabriel Stockton
"Painting outdoors in watercolor on the beach is an incredibly rewarding experience," says Gabriel Stockton. "It allows for a personal connection with nature, experimentation with new techniques and styles, and improvement of skills."

There are many methods to choose from when it comes to painting outdoors at a potentially tricky location like the beach. Gabriel Stockton is a proponent of watercolor, and here’s why.

Breathe in, Paint out: The Art of Outdoor Watercolor Painting on the Beach

By Gabriel Stockton
Gabriel was recently on the faculty of Watercolor Live. Did you miss it? The next online art conference is Plein Air Live, taking place March 8-11, 2023.

Painting outdoors, aka plein air painting, is an incredibly rewarding experience for any artist. The natural beauty of the beach provides an excellent backdrop for painting, and watercolor is a perfect medium to capture the ever-changing light and colors of the landscape. Here are some reasons why painting outdoors in watercolor on the beach is a worthwhile experience.

The scene Gabriel chose for plein air painting
The scene Gabriel chose for plein air painting

First, painting outdoors allows artists to connect with nature and capture the beauty of the landscape in a more personal and immediate way. Being on the beach, with the sound of waves crashing and the salty breeze in the air, can be a transformative experience that inspires creativity and a sense of wonder. This connection to the natural environment can be reflected in the artist’s work as they capture the colors, textures, and movement of the landscape.

Second, watercolor is a great medium for outdoor painting because it is lightweight and easy to transport. Unlike oil paints or heavy canvases, watercolor paints and paper can be easily packed up and carried to the beach. This makes it an ideal medium for artists who want to capture the fleeting moments of the landscape, such as the changing colors of the sky during a sunset or the movement of the waves.

Gabriel's art board for painting with watercolor
Gabriel’s art board for painting with watercolor

Third, the beach provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with different techniques and styles. The natural beauty of the beach, with its vibrant colors and textures, can be a great inspiration for artists to try out new techniques and explore different styles. Watercolor is a versatile medium that allows artists to create a wide range of effects, from subtle washes to bold and vivid colors. The beach provides the perfect backdrop for experimenting with these techniques and styles.

Fourth, painting outdoors in watercolor on the beach is a great way to improve skills and develop a personal style. The challenges of outdoor painting, such as changing light and weather conditions, can help artists to develop their skills and adapt to new situations. This can lead to a greater understanding of the medium and a personal style that reflects the artist’s unique perspective and experience.

Finally, it’s simply a fun and enjoyable experience. It can be a great way to spend time with friends or family or to take a break from the stresses of daily life. It is a way to connect with the beauty of nature and express creativity in a unique and meaningful way.

Painting Outdoors ~ One of My Favorite Beaches

The beach at La Jolla Shores is over a mile long, making it one of the largest beaches in the San Diego area. It’s a popular spot for surfers, especially in the winter months when the waves are larger. The Scripps Pier, located at the north end of the beach, is a popular surf spot. The Marine Room, a restaurant located on the beach at La Jolla Shores, is known for its high-tide dinners, where the waves crash against the windows of the restaurant, providing a unique dining experience. The La Jolla Shores Hotel, located just steps from the beach, has been a popular vacation spot for over 80 years. These are great reasons to visit this spot to paint often.

Connect with the artist:

Do you agree that watercolor is the best medium for painting at a beach location? Share your comments below.

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  1. Great little article, I have wondered about using my french easel. Now I see it looks very workable. You must hang a water container off the side? I see you have some sort of side extension on there. I would like to hear more about all that, but again, enjoyed the article and love the painting!


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