Waterfall Exercise 1: #1

This is the next exercise from Ron Hazell’s Painting Water with Watercolor. This was supposed to be a quick sketch to get the fundamentals of his technique for painting waterfalls, and I tried to paint it that way. I didn’t do a value study first, or sketch the composition on the paper first, because I tried to follow his directions closely and he didn’t recommend doing those. I think the value study would normally be a necessity, but because I’m going from an example, I used his painting as my value study.

The first step was to paint the sky and trees on the horizon, then the rock face on the left. The sky is barely in this painting so I didn’t put much time into it. Just some Ultramarine Blue, and a rag to lift out clouds.

Then I painted the trees while the sky was still a little damp. I tried to mimick the example, but I was much too light to start so I had to go back in to darken the values. Before I knew it, I was back in for a fifth time, and I was overworking them – so I stopped. I then painted the rocks, but they didn’t match the example because I didn’t have enough blue in the base coat.

This is what the first step is supposed to look like.

After that dried, I thought I’d add some blue glazing to make it match the example a little better. Remember – stopping is the most important, and hardest technique for me to master.

Of course, going back in didn’t fix anything. No surprise there.

The lesson here is: when painting rocks, put down a light-valued base wash. Get those colors right. Let it dry. Then glaze a darker wash on top, and knife out that glaze.

I still wasn’t happy, and because I’m incorrigible, I tried to fix it – creating more mud. You can see the mess in the final version.

Then, I painted the waterfall. The colors didn’t match Ron’s, and the shape of the falling water was much more uniform in my attempt. In Ron’s example, the waterfall bends on the right, and the brush strokes he uses to paint the right side bend as well. In mine, all of the brush strokes were fairly parallel, making it feel very flat. I tried to fix it by adding some diagonal strokes, but it was too late.

Lesson here: know what you want to do before you put the brush on the paper.

Then I painted the rocks on the right. I tried to avoid overworking them like I did on the left, I nearly did. I’m ok with them. (And I love this technique of getting foam at the base of a rock by just painting a ragged bottom edge. So simple-so effective.

Then I painted the tree at the bottom. Just a little splash of color and framing to lend some perspective to the composition I’m sure. After the foliage was done I painted the branches – and then went back to paint more branches because I am ABSOLUTELY DUMB AND I CANT STOP! Just STOP ALREADY!

Oh well. I think it’s about a 6.

Here’s the example.
Here’s my overworked attempt to replicate that.
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