Study – Water: #1

I watched a video by Ron Hazel on how to paint rippled water, and wanted to try it out. 

I have also wanted to experiment with a cloud technique I saw in a video by Umberto Rossini.

The two styles don’t mesh well together, but that’s ok, this is a lesson. (I have already started a second go on the back side.)

For the sky I started with a clear wash, leaving some parts of the sky untouched. Then, I added Indanthrone Blue heavily in the corners, and lighter as I worked toward the horizon. Instead of painting a wash like I normally would, I just dappled the pigment onto the wet paper, and let is go where it wanted. When it hit the edge (and came against the dry paper) the pigment settled in a crisp line. In other areas, I deposited less pigment, so it would settle before reaching the dry edge. This provided crisp edges in some places, and soft edges in others. In general, I like the way it works, but I definitely need to experiment more with it. Getting the clouds right is difficult with this method because I can’t control their shape, which makes it much harder to create a sense of perspective. I’ll keep noodling with this, but I tend to think it might not work well for the way I have started to like to paint. I also veered away from Rossini’s video by attempting to add some grey shadows to help define a light source. This was a colossal failure because my grey (Indanthrone Blue, Phthalo Blue and Raw Umber) was much too green, and far too heavy. I’m trying again with a very light Payne’s Grey instead, and that works a bit better, but still not exactly what I’m after.

Then, I worked on the waves, trying to follow Ron Hazel’s example. His strategy is to start with a gradient wash, darker at the bottom and lighter at the horizon. Then, after that has dried, wet it with clean water, and wait for the sheen to disappear. Once the paper is damp, use a flat edge, semi-dry brush with the same blue pigment to add ripples. These should be large, and far apart in the foreground, and small and close together as I near the horizon. I love the effect Ron gets with this, but my first try didn’t work quite right. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted because I added my ripples when the paper was too damp. 

I also tried to experiment with some of the tips on wave coloration I gleaned from Mural Joe

I tried making the ripples in the foreground more green, and bluer at the horizon. My thought being that the waves in the foreground would allow more light through, and would be more green. The waves in the distance would allow less light through, and be darker.

Then, I watched a second video by Ron Hazel on how to paint ripples water, and realized the mistake was not accounting for the reflective quality of the water. As the viewpoint nears the horizon, the angle of incidence grows more obtuse, meaning more light bounces off the water and into the eye. More light hitting the eye means closer to white.

I like the depth of color I got in the foreground by incorporating the green “windows to the deep” but I need to fade to white as I near the horizon. I also need to angle the first wave more to take the perspective from infinity. 

All in all, this was a very helpful exercise. It’s not a great painting, but it was a great lesson.Edit or delete thisYOUTUBE.COMPainting Rippled Water in Watercolor


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