Rough Water Exercise 3: #1

I got a really bad cold for a bit there, and worked on a painting a friend asked me to make which I’ll post later. This one is a continuation through Ron Hazell’s How to Paint Water with Watercolor.

This exercise is just a quick wave. I’m sure I didn’t quite capture the technique, so I’ll have to try again. But because this is just a quick study I’ll practice again without trying to make an actual painting – just the wave.

The purpose here is to try to capture the curl of the wave on the left, and the spray on the right. You can see I was too controlled painting the spray, I struggle with negative painting.

The idea is to paint the curl with a mid tone blue and a drop of yellow at the far edge. Then paint midtone blue Into the spray from the bottom with a dry brush to get a white ragged edge where the wave is crashing down. Then, leaving a white area which will become the foamy crest of the wave, paint into the crest from the top, giving a ragged edge there as well. I did ok painting the bottom, but was far too controlled on the top which, gave the wave a very crisp crest. On the next attempt, I’ll need to be more ragged into the crest of the wave to make it appear to be spraying up into the air.

Once that is done, you are supposed to come back at the curl with a deeper value to give shape and depth to the curl, and give the impression of foam at the edge of the curl. I wasn’t capturing the effect, so I kept going back trying to get it right and ended up with too much of a deep value, which killed the effect.

Once that was thoroughly butchered, I decided to experiment with some dry brush deep tones on the left of some other waves elsewhere, and came back with yellow deep values on the right of those waves to try to make it look like there were choppy peaks here and there. I then used some flat deep value blues to try to get some waves in the background to create perspective. Again, I went back too many times, and killed the value structure.

At this point, I knew I wasn’t going to end up with something I was happy with, so I just experimented in the sky by using a pipette to drop purples and blues to try to create the impression of an ominous sky. I let that dry, and because I used the pipette, it was very very wet. As it dries it created the blossom all along the bottom edge, which wasn’t intended but I see how that could be used in the future to give the impression of a land mass, or clouds. I’ll have to experiment with that a bit more as well.