Painting the Beach–One Stroke at a Time!

My name is Ryan Kimba and I am a beach artist who specializes in original palette knife paintings. My subject matter consists of tropical shorelines, waves, rocky coasts, and captivating sunsets.

So the golden question is…

Why do I paint only seascapes?

Well, an uninspired answer would be because I love the sea like most people do. But if I go deeper than that, I paint the sea because it’s where I feel like I belong. It is home to me. I am a Pisces and feel the magic of being on the shore. Every sound and sight inspires me to want to re-create it on a canvas. To translate it into something lasting.

And I strive to give each of my paintings that magic, a stunning peace and freedom that only the ocean can grant us.


The Crystal Tide“The Crystal Tide.” My new painting on canvas. 11×14″


I love to emphasize bold and lively colors in my work, rich textures, and calming, nostalgic scenes. That is what my new palette knife style is all about. If you haven’t read it yet, check out my last post on the “Top 5 Reasons to Try Painting with Palette Knives.” To view close-up images of my paintings, you can visit my Etsy shop at


I will be heading to Florida for Labor Day to visit family in Boynton Beach. It will be a much-needed dose of rest, relaxation, and inspiration. While on the beach I’ll be sure to take some photos of the waves and palms and create sketches to take home with me for reference. As a visual artist, it is imperative to record those moments so that you can draw on them later on when the inspiration strikes. It demonstrates that when you’re a professional artist the work never stops, even when you’re on vacation! Luckily for me, I absolutely LOVE what I do.

And I can’t wait to get back into the studio when I return! I’ll be sure to post some images of the trip in my next post. But until then, I wish you happy painting, drawing, sculpting, photographing, graphic designing, or whatever it is that you like to do to make the world a richer place. The world NEEDS artists.

Let’s give it some much-needed color!


Ryan Kimba


*Top 5* Reasons to Try Painting with Palette Knives

There are 5 GRAND reasons for using palette knives instead of brushes when painting in oils. It certainly is worth naming them, for those of you who might have entertained the idea of using knives in the past. Before we get down to it, I’d like to share with you my new painting, called “Sparkles.” I’ve also included a detail shot for a closer inspection 🙂 :



Sparkles.  11×14 Oils on canvas



1. You can paint more loose

With using brushes, it is common to feel the pressure to add in a lot of detail. Because of that, your painting process can feel rigid and formulaic. When using palette knives, or “painting knives” as they are commonly called, you can be more loose and free. This is because you CAN’T achieve great detail with a knife blade, so it opens you up to get more expressive with your style.

2. You can mix colors directly on your canvas

This is a great benefit with using knives instead of brushes. As a palette-knife painter, you can mix all of your colors right onto the canvas as you are painting instead of having to pre-mix them on your palette before application. This also allows you to paint more loosely, not to mention all the time it saves!

3. It gives your work texture

Since knives don’t absorb the oil paint, it all ends up on the support. As you build up these layers of thick paint, your art starts to take on a life of its own! By going back through the mounds of color, you can create striking textures not possible using a paint brush. 3-D art, anyone?

4. You paintings look more like paintings

When I was using brushes to paint my seascapes, I tried to make my art look photo-realistic. I wanted my work to look as life-like as possible. If you go to my website and look at my realistic paintings, you will see what I am talking about.   Since switching to painting knives, however, my paintings look more like paintings. They are more abstract and expressive. This has really helped me find a “voice” within my work. You can now tell that my palette-knife paintings were created by the same artist, which is what branding is all about.

5. Clean-up is a breeze!

And lastly, clean-up is not a treacherous debacle. It is far more quick and painless. No longer are there filthy brushes or solvents to worry about. In fact, all that is required is to wipe off the knife blades with paper towel in between each individual color you apply. So I guess you can say that clean up is on the go, as you are painting to and fro! This is probably the nicest plus to using palette knives.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my list and that it might inspire you to pick up some knives and experiment. So much of being an artist is finding what works for you and seeing what is out there. There is a fine artist I have been following for a couple of years  who also uses palette knives, quite WELL, I might add! Her name is Leslie Saeta, host of Artists Helping Artists on Blog Talk Radio. Check out her art at

I’ll see you next time, my fellow art enthusiasts, where I will be talking about why I love to paint the sea. I will also be heading down to Florida over Labor Day weekend to get some much needed relaxation and inspiration, but I’ll be sure to say goodbye before I go!

Until next week,



How Bad Do you Want It?

I LIKE turtles

A few years ago I was doing an author symposium at Eastern Michigan University. I was there to promote my children’s book I had just gotten published, titled “Sea Beds,” and it was a very exciting time for me! After the event ended I had a long line of eager friends, family, and strangers lined up to get a copy of the book and a picture with the author. After I finished signing all of their copies for the night, a young man with thick-framed glasses and a tucked in shirt came up to talk to me. He was timid and uneasy…I could tell that right away.

“Hey Shaun. Can I get your advice on something?” he mumbled in a soft tone.

“Of course! What can I do for you?” I said.

“I am wrote a novel and was wondering how to get it published??? What do you think? I could use some direction.”

I asked him what his novel was about and what he ultimately wanted to do with it. Did he want to get it edited, published, sold, etc… Then I told him about how I had to pay for a publicist to help me market my book. That is usually the case for most first-time, unknown authors. His response to that was exactly as I had expected.

“WHAT!? I’m going to have to pay? That’s ridiculous! I shouldn’t have to pay anyone a dime to put out my book.”

I knew he wouldn’t go anywhere as a writer. And it wasn’t because he didn’t have the guts, passion, or talent to do it. It was because he was not willing to do whatever it took to achieve his goal. That’s why he won’t be a successful author. Unless he changes, that is. I told him he wasn’t ready to proceed with his plans and he stomped away. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t steer him in the wrong direction by telling him what he wanted to hear.

My point is this…whatever your dream may be, you have to take FULL responsibility in making it happen. No one is going to do it for you. To put it bluntly–if you aren’t willing to spend or invest the money, to make the contacts, or risk countless rejection, or put in 16 hour days, or to be humiliated and uncomfortable on a regular basis—then you don’t deserve to your dream. If you are ready to sacrifice, then the world is at your feet.

And I’m rooting for you!

Starting an art career is a lifelong journey. It is not a sprint. It is a MARATHON. Put in everything you have and you will get it back in full. I promise you. I know I have a long way to go to becoming a world-renowned seascape painter, making six-figures a year from the sales of my art, and being able to travel around the world. But you can bet your boots that I will make that happen, no matter how long it takes.

That is MY dream. And it is non-negotiable! What is your dream? And are you willing to do whatever it takes to realize it?


Etsy Banner

I wanted to share with you my new banner I created for my page on etsy. I think it represents my new pallete knife paintings very well 🙂 Below is the link to my shop for you to check out


So until next time,

Do what you love to do! And do ALL that you can do.


Let’s Paint a Seascape!!! An Art Lesson with Ryan Kimba

For all of you that don’t know me–my name is Ryan Kimba and I am a palette knife painter. I love to paint beaches, waves, palm trees, and sunsets. And with each new painting I aim to share my vision of seaside paradise with my viewers. I was born and raised in Michigan and graduated from Eastern with a degree in writing, my second love.

My first love is, yep! You guessed it. PAINTING!

Speaking of painting, today I will be showing you how to paint a seascape with palette knives. I think I’m going to do a tropical painting of some palm trees and mountains in the background.

So let’s get started…

Step (1)

..…..First we’ll begin tackling the sky. I think we’ll do a deep blue sky for our seascape painting. I always work from top to bottom so that I don’t have to worry about smearing or dragging my arm through the paint. I also like to mix my paint directly onto the canvas, which saves a lot of time. The piece of masking tape will give us a straight line for the horizon line. 

Using Pthalo blue and Titanium white in oils, let’s begin by mixing them onto the canvas. Here we are going for sweeping motions from side to side, much like buttering a piece of toast. We’ll keep the blue a little lighter near the bottom.


Step (2)

Next let’s add some bright clouds to the blue. Keep in mind that we need to use thick applications of Titanium white, or else it will mix into the blue and we’ll lose the bright white. This way we will keep it layered and solid over our base. Let’s put the mountain in the background on the right. To get the color you can mix Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna, which makes a chromatic black. Add a bit of Pthalo Blue and let this dark mix fade into the sky color. Since the mountain is a little in the distance, we need to make sure it is grayed due to atmospheric perspective.


Step (3)

Now we’ll start working on the water. I think I’d like a Turquoise for the base of the water. Once we have that down, we can always add other shades of blue to the water to give it more character. Don’t forget to make the horizon line straight. If you don’t, it will make the entire painting look off. This will require a very steady hand. If it doesn’t go well at first, don’t worry! It will come with practice. I promise! 🙂


Step (4)

I jumped ahead a bit, but you can start to see the progress. I finished off the ocean color by adding a bit of Pthalo blue, one of my go-to’s! I also added a bit of white to add some light to the waves. In the foreground I added some Permanent Green Light for grass, and then warmed it by mixing the green with some Cadmium Yellow Medium, which almost looks orange. For the earth I added white to Burnt Sienna. The green and tan ended up going quite well together!


Step (5)

Here we need some highlight to the mountain, by using some green along the edge. This will make the mountain look like it is shining in the sun. Make sure to keep it cool so that it doesn’t advance towards the foreground.  I also added a smaller mountain closer to our land. I used some of the black I already have mixed on my palette to paint in some rocks in the sand. The more details the better. Notice the wonderful texture of the painting so far!? That is courtesy of using palette knives instead of brushes. It gives you a 3-D effect that is simply magnificent.


Step (6)

I thought it would be awesome to add a glimmering waterfall spilling over the edge of the mountain. Also, we can now start on the palm trees. To do this, we’ll need to lift some paint off of the canvas to paint the trunks. If you don’t do that the paint will mix into the blue. To scrape the paint off, I used a knife with a long tapering tip and scraped from top to bottom in one quick motion. I decided to make the trunks bend, as most palm trees tend to grow crooked in real life.


Step (7)

In this step I made mounds of sand in the foreground with a lot of white into my Burnt Sienna. I also added some more details in the grass using Green Earth, which is a dark, chalky shade of green on my palette. We will also use that color for the base of the palm fronds. I also added waves in the ocean, because what seascape would be complete without waves??? Lastly I filled in the trunks of our trees with Burnt Sienna and Cad. Yellow mix. Now we are ready to finish off the palm trees.


Step (8)

To make the trees look alive, we need to add various shades of green. Some of the fronds are in shadow and some are in light. To add sunlight, simply add Cadmium Yellow Light to the medium shade of green. You can also add black to the heart of the tree to really make it pop. I also gave the trees shadows, so that the sun is coming from the top right of the scene. We are almost done now. But I think we need a little more color in the grass.


Step (9)

For the final touch I decided to include some vibrant tropical flowers into the picture. To get these colors you’ll need to do a bit of mixing. The pink was mixed from Cadmium Red Deep and white, the violets from Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red Deep, and the blue is Pthalo Blue plus white. By varying the hues of the colors they will look more life-like. 

I think that about wraps it up for our seascape painting! I had a LOT of fun and hope that you did too! Painting is such an incredible process because we can do whatever we want to do. Add anything we’d like to add! If you have any questions, feel free to drop a line below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


I decided to name my painting “The Paradise Within.” If you’d like to see some close-up detail shots of the piece, visit my online Etsy shop at



And don’t forget to check out my Fine Art America page at



Until next time,