Resolving a troublesome wave painting.

I decided to look at this existing seascape again and change some aspects of it.

Large Wave Breaking Reworked

This painting has undergone several changes overtime. The earliest photo of it is here. Sometimes I find it really helpful to go back in time to see where the painting was working before I became unhappy with it. I had forgotten the sky had been this light grey until looking over old photos.

wave breaking alternative

On the same day as the image above I had reworked the wave, but had put too much black on the underside of the wave.

wave breaking alternative image

The following day I had reworked the crest of the wave to a more pleasing shape and colour. Unfortunately I had decided for some reason to change the sky, which I can now see had already been working.

wave breaking alternative

I changed the colour of the sky again to a strange blue.

Then I applied a glaze of light turquoise. This covered up too much of the under-painting and made the painting milky. By adding too many white highlights, I lost some of the definition on the surf

"wave breaking" oil on canvas 100 x 70cm £395

So recently I put the painting back on the easle. Then with a lot of turpentine, white spirit and elbow grease I scrubbed back the turquoise glaze to reveal the under-painting. Returned the sky to a light grey giving the focus of the painting back to the light coming though the wave. Also gave more definition to the shadows and the tunnel.

"wave breaking" oil on canvas 100 x 70cm £395

I think I’ve learned through this that it is vital to recognise what is working in a painting at its earliest stages. Hold onto those elements and don’t over glaze for the sake of it.

"wave breaking" giclee print
“Wave breaking” Oil on canvas: 100 x 70cm

10 Ways to find local artists work you enjoy

As a community, it is important to support local artists because, without local support, the art they make would stop and the impact it could have made would disappear. If you support a local artist, you are in turn supporting all of our respective creative freedoms.

Once artists are able to express themselves creatively and freely, beautiful art is made that can be admired by the community and beyond. These art pieces not only reflect the artists’ ideas, but also their hidden messages behind each work of art.

Sources to find local artists

  • Search Google for (insert your towns name) local artists
  • Instagram will list artists nearby if you type in your local town
  • Search Facebook. Artists will often promote themselves by creating a Facebook fan page. Here’s mine.
  • Google my business lists local artists
  • Yell lists local artists
  • Local artist list some local artist in your area
  • My Art Brief where you can commission an artist to paint a work for you with the dimensions and colours of your choice
  • Visit local galleries. They usually promote local artists
  • Look in your local paper. They will often feature local artists showing work in a nearby venue
  • In Devon, where I am based, you have the devonartistnetwork an organisation specializing in local devon artists with an open studio event every September

Sea storm the 5 stages of a new painting


Stage 1.

Setting out the composition of my sea storm painting  i.e. the combination of all elements in the artwork, not just visual elements, but also the mood and light.

Stage 2.

Refining the composition. I find looking at the image from a distance, at least 20 feet away, really helpful.  It can show things you have missed working close up. Also taking photos of the work can enable you to see things from a different angle and perspective.

Stage 3.

Glazing. I use glazes to enrich the surface to the work. I may return to a canvas several weeks after applying an initial glaze to reapply another if needed. Drying can change to the look of a painting dramatically, so its important to give it time to develop.
Stage 4.
Highlights. Once the glaze has dried or sometimes whilst it is drying, depending on the effect desired, I like to go back and highlight the crest of waves or the ripples on the ocean. This gives you a good depth of field.

Stage 5oil on canvas of a blue wave in a stormy sea

The wave highlights have been softened and a blue glaze applied.  The sky has been changed with a warm yellow in the distance to contrast with the cold blues in the foreground.

These 5 stages are not cast in stone and I may mix them up or return to stage 2 or 3 even after stage 4. It just depends on how successful or not the final piece is.

Why I return to and rework some of my paintings

"Wave breaking" by Catherine Kennedy Original oil on canvas painting measuring: 70 x 100 cm or 27.5 x 39 inches. Large turquoise wave cresting

Rework a painting

Sometimes I find after working on a painting for a period of time I just can’t see it properly anymore. I have to leave it and walk away and return to it and rework a painting after a week or even months. It might appear to be finished or unresolved at the time. However when revisiting it I can see the painting with clearer vision. This process of time can change the way I look at a painting. I might be pleased with it when I initially finished it, but on reflection it just doesn’t seem right. So more work needs to be done in order for me to be satisfied with the final outcome.

Below are 4 photographs of a painting I was reworking. Taking photos gives me another viewpoint and can help with colours or see unresolved parts of the painting that just don’t seem clear to me in real life. I have now finished this painting and the large view is the completed painting. It took sometime to get there, but it’s all about keeping going until you are satisfied you have resolved most the issues. Finally it is knowing when to stop.

Before and after reworking

Large oil painting of a blue wave breaking, why I rework a painting
“Wave breaking”

large oil painting of a blue wave, why I rework a painting
“Wave breaking”








oil painting by Catherine Kennedy of a large blue wave breaking with a blue sky
Nearly finished. Final adjustments

waveart, wave painting, large oil painting of a wave
“Wave Breaking” Oil on canvas 70 x 100 cm or 27.5 x 39.5 inches.  This is now finished and available for sale. Please follow this link for more details “Wave Breaking”