Ocean art: Emotional perception

The great impact of nature on humans is undeniable. Being in the presence of the untouched environment evokes a sense of wellbeing which feels unique to the outdoors. While there are numerous natural settings in which various emotions take place, we will be particularly looking at the ocean’s qualities and how these influence the way in which ocean art is created and perceived.


It is fascinating to see how the sea can influence our emotions. But perhaps even more interesting is the fact these feelings and thoughts lie on a very polarized spectrum at the same time. When looking at or thinking about the deep blue, depending on the water’s state as well as a person’s current subconscious mindset, the ocean can create a sense of aliveness and excitement, turmoil and chaos, or feelings of serenity and stillness.

Image shows an abstract painting with various blues swirling into white ripples, appearing similar to an ocean wave from above.
Ocean art can evoke strong emotions

These varying emotions can influence the process and reasons in which an ocean-inspired piece of art is created.

The technique chosen by an artist to portray the water may also influence the way in which the viewer perceives it. An artist may choose to do a paint splatter effect in order to achieve the severity and intensity of waves crashing against the seashore rocks during a storm, which could evoke feelings of challenging times and hardships; or they could use a very delicate approach, such as watercolours in order to portray the water’s softness and peacefulness, inviting feelings of stability. Therefore, certain materials and techniques influence the way in which an artist chooses to depict their emotions and state of mind through the waves, while creating similar emotions in the viewer.

It is the ocean’s innate potential for emotional dynamism which makes it such a freeing, versatile and expressive subject for creating art. Moreover, sea-inspired art is also a perfect subject for artists of any age or skill. This is because while any subject can be created by any individual, the open ocean possesses an ever-changing state for which perfection when creating art is not necessary, but rather, to simply feel and imagine the organic flow and movement of it. There are a myriad of materials for all skill levels and artistic preferences with which to connect to the ocean and create a very personal representation of it, such as a beautiful art resin depiction of the water, a creative graphic drawing using artist pens, a layered acrylic paint technique or a whimsical portrayal of the sea using alcohol-based markers.


Creating ocean art gives us a chance to feel a connection to something bigger than ourselves while allowing for an opportunity to use nature as a tool of intrinsic and creative expression.


The ever-changing state of the waves mirrors life’s ever-changing nature. But perhaps even more importantly, ocean art also gives us a chance to recognize that the way in which we choose to portray and perceive our environment can have an impact on the way in which others perceive it as well. Our perception has much more power than we think, and we can use the ocean in art to express ourselves through nature and to make use of that power within ourselves.



By: Alejandra Vergara