I was looking for an easy way to paint ocean waves in a recent watercolor painting. Instead of masking fluid I opted for a piece of old wax melt. Yes it was scented at one time but had lost most of its nice smell, probably a vanilla cupcake scent. Who doesn’t like the smell of cupcakes? Luckily it was off-white and would blend in with the watercolor paper.
I took the hardened wax and ran it across the paper where I wanted the top of the crested ocean wave. I then ran a few strokes down the curl of the wave for the foam. I then added a few horizontal strokes with the wax for foam edges as small waves are coming towards the beach. Below you can see where I put the wax, wherever you see the white paper. The wax resist creates a nice texture for the ocean wave foam.
To start the painting I wet the paper above the wax on the main wave. I painted the greyish violet color at the tip and let the paint creat a soft edge where it was already wet. Then I painted the blue wave adding darker lines after it was dry. I continued down to the middle ground using same background color from sky to paint foam from the waves. I then moved to the foreground and painted the sand and added the reflections while it was still wet. After everything was dry I painted the birds.
Below is the piece of wax melt that I use for saving the white of the paper. The old scented wax has nice edges for a variety of shapes as it is dragged across the watercolor paper. In the image below I used the wax resist technique for a sky painting with a large cloud.
I did learn that it is hard to erase any pencil lines that have the wax on top. Some artist leave their pencil lines others do not, it is up to you. In the ocean wave painting above I didn’t use any pencil sketch.
Next time you need to save the white of your paper try this wax resist technique. It is definitely faster than using masking fluid and it creates a softer edge. The soft edge is great for the foam when you paint ocean waves.