View Full Version : Waterlillies WIP...Help!

09-08-2004, 07:42 PM
I've been working on this waterlillies pic. from a photo I took while on vacation. I've put in over 4 hours on it and now it's getting to the point where I don't know what I'm doing. My main challenge has been getting the water to look like water ( I think I'm getting mud now). Also...does anyone have any good advice for using black? I was always taught to use it as little as possible, and now I'm finding when I do use it to darken a color (my darks never seem dark enough to me) it screams out too much :(

Help if you can! I'd love some C&C on this. Thanks

12x18 soft pastel on Wallis
photo I'm using as reference on the right

09-08-2004, 07:50 PM
I took the pic into psp and upped the sats a bit to show you that isn't black so much as a very dark green, and a grayed lavender. (Hope it shows here- this script has something against colour sometimes.)


To get that green (Sennelier makes a good one- "green-black", I believe it is) lay in a light layer of black and blend it in well. Then take your darkest green and glaze it over the top. Back with the black in that upper left corner, and then glaze again with green- just up into the black, but not all the way across.

Also, watch the shape of your lily pads- the perspective (shape) of them is off a bit- causing them to read as if they were standing on edge.

Paula Ford
09-08-2004, 07:58 PM
Hi bluepellinore,

You have a terrific start on your painting!!

I use black and really deep shades of brown and navy blue all the time and IMOP think those really dark colors make a painting POP.

Maybe if you darken beneath the Waterlillies more and put the really dark rim around the pads (where the water touches the sides of the pads), it will probably look better to you. As in the reference photo, the water at the top of the photo appears much darker and therefore, makes it look a bit flatter. I'd try to darken your water there and see if that helps.

I can do water, but not explain it, sorry. There are lots of experts here who will be able to help you better than me.

Hope this helps a little. If you get too frustrated, put it away until you've had a good night's sleep so you can look at it with a fresh eye in the morning.


09-08-2004, 10:56 PM
Thanks so much for your suggestions. I'll have to try using the black underneath, when I'm ready to look at it again. You're right..I need to put it away for a while.

09-09-2004, 12:34 AM
SBJ's right about the water...it doesn't need ripply detail so much as the right color and tone. Her enhanced photo shows where the greyed lilac and the darker green make a sort of pattern in the upper right...otherwise the right and top left water areas are pretty detail-ess and more of a play of color gradients...very subtle, but the key to that still water. The bonus will be that if you follow the photo's water layout, it will be lots EASIER too.

Sometimes it helps if you take the ref photo into a Photoshop type program and cut out a section that's giving you trouble and then enlarge it a bit. Isolated by itself, it's sometimes easier to see what's really going on with it.

09-09-2004, 04:25 AM
I'm not seeing the reflection of the blooms in your painting as I do in the ref pic. That alone would help in creating the illusion of a water surface. Paula is right ,,,,,,sometimes if you leave the painting alone for a while your subconscious will work out problems for you so that you can return fresh.