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khourianya
08-17-2004, 04:48 PM
I have just started working in pastel, recently, after many years working exclusively in watercolour. I am in deep admiration of so amny of the artists here who can create realistic looking, reflective water. The kind of water you just want to dip your fingers into...

So, I am looking for some tips and tricks... how do you make your water look so real?

Thanks in advance!

Nori
08-17-2004, 06:12 PM
Take some time and look at the work by Arnold Lowrey (if you haven't yet). In the piece below you can see how he used each color and the effect is WOW but the strokes are uncomplicated. Maybe he will respond on this thread. I'd sure be interested to hear his thoughts.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209562

khourianya
08-17-2004, 07:48 PM
His post of Welsh Storm was actually the one that inspired this question so it's funny you should refer to it...I hope he does respond as I would love to learn to do water as he does

I am just blown away by how much talent resides in this community...and how freely it is shared.

Deborah Secor
08-17-2004, 09:59 PM
Well, I'm not Arnold but his painting perfectly represents the 'rules' of reflections I wrote about not long ago. Look at his painting as you read this excerpt from my article in The Pastel Journal:

_______

Reflections have an otherworldly look, subdued by the water. This is partly because all the values shift slightly due to the diffusion of light, as some of the reflected light is scattered.

To accurately show this shift in value remember to paint light values slightly darker, dark values slightly lighter, and middle values close to the same. This means there is somewhat less contrast in the reflection, though the degree to which this is visible depends on several variables.

If the reflection is in still, very clear water that has little or no sediment, the values of the reflection may be nearly identical, with only an incrementally small change. The more sediment there is, the more there is a shift in color and value, whether it is from the whitening effect of glacial runoff, the rich earth colors seen in water stirred up by a current or the tea-like color of water steeped with leaves and bark.

Bear in mind that a photograph will almost always be deceptive, leading you astray by averaging the light, oftentimes resulting in a nearly identical reflection with hardly any shift in values. When you are out on location be sure to analyze the reflections you see and notice the slightly muted contrast.

To begin painting still water reflections, first paint the object and then record the local color of its reflection. This means that if the mountain is lavender, it is a good idea to put a touch of the same lavender into the water and if the tree is yellow, add a breath of yellow there. Later in the process you can make it more believable by softly layering, blending or feathering the surface. Use a light touch to begin with so that you have room to adjust using subsequent layers of color.

To achieve the liquid sheen of a reflection in clear, flat water, try feathering over many layers of pastels. You will need at least three or four light layers in place, already capturing the color, value and shape of the reflection. Then use a pastel pencil or extra soft thin vine charcoal stick to gently whisk over the surface, as lightly as you would use butterfly wing while trying not to damage it. A particularly long piece of charcoal will keep you from bearing down too hard and making gray marks in the pastel, although some graying will occur. This can add to the illusion by reducing color and contrast, and is a valuable way to achieve the illusion of still water reflections.

Finger blending is another technique that can be used to create believable reflections. Use a quick stroke downward over several layers of color to get the slightly smeared quality often seen in reflections. If blending on sandpaper, be careful to have a pillow of pastel beneath your finger so that you will not abrade your skin.

Keep the reflections of upright, vertical objects straight, and make sure leaning objects lean in the same direction. If the tree leans to the right its reflection also leans to the right. Remember that the sky is reflected upside down, too, so blend from light blue at the distant shoreline to dark at the bottom of the page, where the zenith of the sky may be reflected.

To help you paint accurate reflections, turn your painting on its side and compare the alignment of objects with their reflections. Be sure that the reflections are directly below objects—or in this case, directly beside them. Also keep in mind that all vertical items, across the width of the entire painting, will be reflected parallel to one another if they are parallel in reality. Don’t let your reflections lean needlessly or converge anywhere.

While your painting is sideways, visually compare the length of each object to be sure you have accurately portrayed the length of its reflection. In perfectly calm water, reflections are not elongated, so if the water begins directly at the base of the object its reflection is no longer than the object itself. You must carefully judge the amount you see reflected of anything farther away from the shoreline.

________

Now maybe Arnold will duck in here and give us some more technical answers! I hope so.

Deborah

SweetBabyJ
08-17-2004, 10:05 PM
rated. Thanks, Deborah.

khourianya
08-17-2004, 11:28 PM
Thanks, Deborah.

That has certainly helped me understand a bit of why mine are looking wonky.

Khadres
08-18-2004, 01:36 AM
Wonderful explanation, Deborah! You're such a treasure trove of knowledge! This is definitely a keeper thread! Thanks for sharing!

prestonsega
08-18-2004, 01:50 AM
Dee.....Very useful info given in a concise format and easily understood. As I was reading I found myself nodding and saying,"that makes sense". particularly the part about the camera averaging the light...value shift,,,I'm gonna remember that!

Thanks

Ruth Grinstead
08-18-2004, 04:50 AM
A great and very timely thread as I had been contemplating some reflective water as my next project.

Ruth

Deborah Secor
08-18-2004, 11:20 AM
How about we make this a 'water paintings' thread, then? If you give it a try, or have already, why not post it here so we can think about what's working and why, or help each other with problems?

Here's one of mine that I completed recently. It isn't as spectacular as Arnold's paintings, but I think there's a place for it.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2004/23609-Rio_Grande_Twilight_WC.jpg
Rio Grande Twilight, 17x23", Wallis paper.

I find that often there are threads that have a lot of words that tell me about a subject, and I need that, but I also want to see pictures! I guess we artists are visual people, after all.

Deborah

bnoonan
08-18-2004, 11:37 AM
It's like one stop shopping. YOu request tips on painting... say.. water... and voila - here's the details and this is only the beginning.

What's not to love about WC?

Barb

Deborah Secor
08-18-2004, 11:52 AM
Here's a couple of other artists' ways of doing it:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2004/23609-Tony_Allain.jpg
Tony Allain

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2004/23609-Maggie_Price.jpg
And our own Maggie Price! (Hope she doesn't mind my showing this one...)

Deborah

Arnold Lowrey
08-18-2004, 05:36 PM
I have just started working in pastel, recently, after many years working exclusively in watercolour. I am in deep admiration of so amny of the artists here who can create realistic looking, reflective water. The kind of water you just want to dip your fingers into...

So, I am looking for some tips and tricks... how do you make your water look so real?

Thanks in advance!
Place your reflected colours down roughly then rub up and down firmly all along till they blur.
The wipe a few ripples over the surface with a light pastel
Arnold

Arnold Lowrey
08-18-2004, 05:43 PM
How about we make this a 'water paintings' thread, then? If you give it a try, or have already, why not post it here so we can think about what's working and why, or help each other with problems?

Here's one of mine that I completed recently. It isn't as spectacular as Arnold's paintings, but I think there's a place for it.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2004/23609-Rio_Grande_Twilight_WC.jpg
Rio Grande Twilight, 17x23", Wallis paper.

I find that often there are threads that have a lot of words that tell me about a subject, and I need that, but I also want to see pictures! I guess we artists are visual people, after all.

Deborah
Hi Deborah
Don't put yourself down . you are a hell of a good painter. My hat goes off to you
great work
Arnold
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2004/47691-Arnold_at_Urchfont_ss_copy.jpg

Deborah Secor
08-18-2004, 05:46 PM
What paper are you using, Arnold? I wouldn't do too much of that rubbing up and down on my Wallis paper! I'd bleed!

Didn't intend to put myself down--just a quieter painting than the one of yours they were discussing, you know? :) But thanks for the compliment!

Deborah

judwal
08-18-2004, 06:49 PM
Here's one I recently painted of an aquaduct in our town. I think I may have broken some of those rules but here goes....
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Aug-2004/43597-Aquaduct_reduced.jpg
18X14 mixed pastels on Canson.

Kitty Wallis
08-18-2004, 08:53 PM
Great info on here, fine summary, Deborah.

To illustrate one more point about painting reflections I found this photo on my computer (I haven't figured out how to post one from the library)

The surface of the water is acting as a mirror. Imagine holding the mirror low in front of you. You see a different view than the one you are seeing of the object. In this case you see under the fox's belly. Look for the different angle in the reflections.

Judy's painting of the aqueduct shows no angle shift because we are so far away from the object.

khourianya
08-18-2004, 10:42 PM
ok..here's my WIP...Its from a photo I took at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia on a recent holiday. Keep in mind that this is my very first pastel painting ever and I am still experimenting as I go. Any comments and critisism are welcome...

Oh, and Kitty, thanks for pointing that out. So often I get in the habit of thinking that it should be like a shadow...when really it IS a mirror. Great pointer!

Arnold Lowrey
08-19-2004, 01:52 AM
What paper are you using, Arnold? I wouldn't do too much of that rubbing up and down on my Wallis paper! I'd bleed!

Didn't intend to put myself down--just a quieter painting than the one of yours they were discussing, you know? :) But thanks for the compliment!

Deborah
Hi Deborah
You a hell of good pastelist. My hat goes off to you I use canson Mi- Tientes usually light gey or bright red
I thought you might be interested inthis sight
Some of my favorite pastelists in UK are Tom Coates and Ken Paine
You willl see some of Ken's work on the Linda Blackstone gallery
Just put Linda Blackstone into Google and you'll find it
I had a couple of courses with Ken and he is dynamite.
Arnold
http://www.thepastelsociety.org.uk/

khourianya
08-20-2004, 02:17 PM
did we run out of water tips already? I coulda sworn we were just getting started :D

Arnold Lowrey
04-25-2007, 02:11 PM
I mentioned earlier that I place the colour of each object inthe water roughly - sky, trees, buidings etc. then I rub up and down , vertical strokes with my fingers. I follow this with a few side swipes of light pastel for ripples.
Deb has written an excellent passage on reflections. The things that come to mind (can't remember if you included them) are
Reflections always go down from the object whereas shadows go away from the light.
Reflections stretch on water - they catch every ripple. - think of a street light across a lake - it is a band of light.
The darks go lighter and the lights go darker- in other words the reflection tone is light moving in one octave to middle C on the piano
The symbols (or metaphors) for moving water are rough or soft edges. Still water can attract some sharp edges.
Hope that helped
Arnold