Swirling Sand - a new watercolour

Swirling sand          Watercolour 62 x 42 cm               © Elizabeth Tyler 2016
 A favourite subject of mine to paint has for several years been the beach. The dividing line where the land meets the sea seems symbolic and fascinating. Spending many months a year on my boat in Greece I never have far to find a potential subject. This time I found a small area of a beach with different coloured stones lying in the wet sand. Small waves were constantly washing over and around the stones keeping them wet and enhancing their colours. 
I painted the sand first in tiny dots of yellow, ochre, burnt sienna and blue/grey. This was done with the help of a toothbrush, spattering the different colours over the area. I then painted the stones one by one taking care to keep the white shiny dots of light clean. Lastly I wetted the area of sand where I wanted to render the swirling shallow water. This didn't turn out right at all at first because the underlying colours were dissolved and it all looked muddy. More like sewage water than the clear Mediterranean sea! I had to scrub the paper's surface with a wet saucepan scrubber and soak up the pigment. Afterwards I lightened the area where the water was painted with an aquarelle pencil. In other places I used the pencil again to suggest highlights in the swirling water around the stones.