When I was in college, I read a lot of Romantic poetry, and what still sticks in my mind is all the water imagery those writers used. For them, water was a stand-in for life, transcendence, and the creative impulse. With such inherent possibilities, it’s all but essential for painters to be able to accurately depict this inspiring element, and that’s why we’ve compiled several methods and solutions for doing just that.
In the natural world, water is rarely absolutely still. There is always some kind of movement, whether it is the wind blowing on the water’s surface, underwater currents, or waves cresting along the shore and flowing back out to sea. When painting water, be mindful of its motion, which is given away by the light reflections on, and refractions in, the water. In acrylic painting, scumbling with wet paint over dry is a great way to achieve these visual effects.
Water is a chameleon. It takes on colors around it—that of the sky, of its close surroundings, and of its contents. In most landscapes, water takes on a greenish cast and tends to darken with its depth, so shallow waters often have warmer tones that grow cooler as the water gets deeper. When water painting, it is always good to remember that.
Mirrorlike reflections are not the domain of creeks, rivers, and oceans. Reflections of sky on water tend to be darker than the sky itself. In the same way, dark shadows cast on the water tend to be lighter than shadows cast on land.
In a way, water is like a window into all the beauty of Nature and into the artist’s mindset—equally inspiring on both fronts. In keeping with the essence of water as inspirational, free-flowing, and surprising, consider a live workshop with famed and popular artist-instructor Johannes Vloothuis on Painting Water and Canyons. The web seminar comes to you this time, through the comfort and ease of your computer screen. It is three dynamic sessions of painting and that means three opportunities to explores the compelling and unique subject matter of land- and seascape painting. You’ll also get direct access to the workshop footage because everything gets recorded and you can go back to it whenever you want.
P.S. If you want to begin your next land-meets-sea paintings with brushes and a palette that don’t distract from the scenery you are capturing and that show the true color of the paints you are using, consider the Jack Richeson & Co. new line of brushes and palette pads, Grey Matters. Featured in the Road Test column of the July/August issue of The Artist’s Magazine, these new brushes and palette could make your next foray into landscape painting an exciting and rewarding one!