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,



Art is *NOT* about talent!

I’d like to talk about the widely held belief that artists are more talented then other people. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that I have’ God-given talent,’ I wouldn’t need to start my own art business. I’ve heard countless times “I wish I could do what you do” and “you were born with tremendous talent, young man,” or “you have a rare gift for creating.” And while I appreciate the positive feedback and recognize that those people meant well…they are still WRONG, to put it bluntly.

Talent and art ARE NOT intertwined. Everything I have learned in art I have had to develop. I have toiled for 10 years to get where I am today. People might say they want to learn to draw or paint, but the stark reality is that they will not put in the effort and work to learn how to do so. So they make excuses by thinking it is a divine gift reserved purely for the fortunate ones.

Anybody can learn how to paint! Given the time, work, and shift in perspective, any willing participant could learn to do what I do. Painting isn’t about learning how to draw and paint, it’s about learning how to “see.” Now that isn’t to say that making art is easy. It certainly isn’t! A lot of times art can be a very exhausting and emotionally draining affair, but it is something that I love and am called to do.

Don’t believe me when I say that anyone can develop the skills and tools to make fantastic art? Let us hop in a time machine…to 10 years ago. Beep, boop….beep….



Here is my very first painting in watercolor of the open ocean. It was created 10 years ago when I was 18 years old.  As you can see it is very abstract and mediocre. Not to mention that fact that it is technically not a sound composition. This was a very humble beginning, I assure you. But I show you this now to prove to you that everybody has to start someone. Nobody is born an art prodigy, even though people think they are.


In the field of psychology, people who believe that knowledge, skill, and greatness are birth-rights are called “fixed-minded.” In other words, they have a fixed mindset. If they aren’t great at art right out of the gate, then it’s because they don’t have a knack for it. Sounds crazy, huh? Yet people in the “growth mindset” believe that all talent and ability must be worked at and refined. These are the artists who continuously strive to master their craft. People who will NEVER give up, like me. What if I had quit after glancing at that painting 10 years ago? Instead I decided to push through until I was able to create the painting you see below.

Image 1 (7)

So to all of you out there–you can achieve anything in life as long as you have a burning passion to learn and grow. The world is at your feet!!!

In my next post I will be revealing my color palette, and how each color works together in creating my beach paintings. It should be very fun and informative.

Until then, improve your techniques, and above all, have a blast painting!


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Knives aren’t just for toast!

Every now and again I feel the need to take a hiatus from making art. A lot of times it stems from personal issues I am dealing with or a general lack of time. Of course these are merely excuses, because at the end of the day nothing should prevent you from doing what you love. What you are called to do.

During my time off I’ve learned some invaluable lessons in my art career, and I plan to use those lessons to strengthen my own voice and abilities. That said, I’ve decided to make some BOLD changes to my style. For several years all I cared about was making things as realistic and flawless as possible. I put in the time to make my oil paintings look like pictures. I felt I needed to do that at the time, but now I know that painting is about growth, discovery, and expression–not necessarily about making something look life-like. That is why man created a camera.

Here is an example of a prior painting in my super realistic style:

Image 1 (23)

Here we can see the soft, subtle blending in the sky and sand to hide the brush stokes and give the illusion of a photograph. The sharp contrast from the addition of black also adds to this effect. So what exactly was my bold change? I decided to become a palette-knife painter. That way I can remain loose and not have to worry about detailing everything to death. This drastic change has really opened a new world of possibilities for me.

Here is my first painting using the palette-knife technique:


See the dramatic differences in this one? From the bold colors, textures, and sweeping knife strokes–this looks more like a painting. And it is certainly more impressionistic and expressive. It has more character to boot. Of course you can still see some detail, but more is left up to the viewer.

Painting with palette knifes took some getting used. The hardest part to get past was the strange similarity to buttering toast! And since you are painting “wet-on-wet,” you have a little less control than you would using brushes and waiting for layers to dry between applications. Another HUGE difference with using the knives is mixing your paint directly on the canvas instead of your palette. I couldn’t believe how much quicker it is!

I’m happy to be a palette knife painter! What changes have you made with your art lately?

Don’t forget to check out my etsy store and Fine Art America page:



So until next time,



Middle School Memories!

One day in 8th grade art class I got kicked out of my room for fooling around, like I usually did. The teacher came into the hall and proceeded to tell me “you will NEVER go anywhere as an artist!” Wow! Was that ever a shocking and awful thing to hear at such a tender developmental stage in my creative life.

The problem is that I must have carried that with me, even if only unconsciously. To this day I still hear a voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough. Yet the thing is, that voice does not come from ME. It is the collective byproduct of everything anyone has ever told me. And most of those are negative, I have to add.

The negative voices in our heads come from other people!

What things do you tell yourself that have no basis in reality?


I can think of a few things artists hear on a regular basis:


“Get a REAL job!”

“You can’t make money selling art.”

“Art is just a hobby.”

“Artists are lazy and insubordinate.”

“You won’t be recognized until you are dead.”

“My 5 year old daughter could paint that!”

Good grief! Is it any wonder why artists have such low self worth and self esteems? I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to believe in yourself. That is the only way you can become successful. I thank Mrs. Boyle for what she said to me all those years ago, because it gave me the fire to prove her and everybody else wrong. It gave me a reason for being.

Don’t forget to check out my new shop on etsy



And until next time,

Put some good voices in your head! And those can only come from you 🙂









Commissions PLEASE!

As an artist there is no greater experience than painting a personal commission for a client. At this moment I have just finished up my third commission in the last couple of weeks. I always welcome commissions because they afford me the chance to stretch myself as a creator.

All in all I have been doing commission work for about 10 years now! I’ve painted people’s pets (dogs, cats, turtles!) animals, their homes and families, their businesses, even dreams they had while sleeping! The most satisfying part about doing this is seeing the look of joy and wonderment on a client’s face. A lot of times I have seen tears. It isn’t just about the money for me. Their reactions validate my abilities as a painter.

Here is the most recent piece I’ve finished and delivered. It is a scene of a beach in Siesta Key, Florida, where the client has been traveling since she was a little girl. Here you can see the start and finish…..



It’s always incredible to watch a painting come to life! Starting with a blank white canvas and creating a world inside of it. That is what I love to do. And of course, I was lucky that she happened to want a seascape.

So for all of you artists out there, whether you work with ceramics, oils, acrylics, mixed media, or graphite—make sure not to pass up the opportunity to make someone else’s vision come to life. I promise it is a very challenging and gratifying experience.

Don’t forget to check out my new listings for sale on etsy


Or you can follow me on facebook at   https://www.facebook.com/Ryan-Kimba-Seascape-Painter-1058228814241949/

Until next time,
















A Whole New World…


My name is Ryan and I’d like to welcome you to my first blog post, which I’m sure will be one of many more to come. As an artist, I tend to pour my soul into my work. I’d like to do the same thing here. I believe that creative blogs are perfect outlets to educate, enrich, and inspire. So with that being said, hopefully I can inspire you in one way or another.

I love painting realistic seascape paintings in oils. My journey has led me to here. I started out painting portraits, people’s homes and pets, animals, and landscapes. Now I’ve discovered that my voice and style belongs to the sea. Below is one of my beach paintings.

Image 1 (6)

As you can probably see, the above painting is bright, packed with color, peaceful, soothing, and tranquil. These qualities are indicative of my work as a visual artist. My art is not about me. It is about my viewers. I know that when I go into a gallery, attend an art fair, or just look at random art hanging on the wall—I apply it to ME. I think we all do that. We all have a visceral, gut reaction to the art we love or enjoy. For my viewers, I want to sweep them away to a warm, bright, and relaxing beach…a HAVEN of reflection and renewal!

I’ve recently opened a store on Etsy, where all of my new paintings are available for sale. I’m currently working very hard to promote and get my art business off of the ground. You can visit



I hope you have a wonderful evening, and I look forward to my next blog.

All the best,