I often ask my students what subject matter they would like to paint and living in Rhode Island, of course the subject of ocean came up.
Here is the tutorial I created on the subject. The key to painting waves is to think of how the sun is hitting each and every wave. There are dark areas and there are light areas.
I had to paint this painting twice for class. Both came out a bit different. One is more pastel and detailed and the other was created with a larger brush and bolder color. If I painted it three more times, I could paint it three more different ways!
This in there lies the key to finding one’s own artistic style. I highly recommend trying the same subject matter multiple times. As you become intimate with every nuance of an image, it becomes easier to manipulate. You can make changes based on the insight you’ve gained.
The more you truly understand, the stronger your artistic muscle.