Tackling Water

My brother is an amazing photographer and fortunately for us, he posts frequently on Facebook. One of his photographs of the Ohio River really struck me: there was great depth in the image of the far bank with such great blues rippling in the brightness of the Sun which reflected directly off the water. He had a foreground area of rocks and trees. I wanted to compliment him by painting his photograph, but I had never painted water.

So I headed over to YouTube to find a lesson on painting waves. I found what I was looking for in MuralJoe, who offers a starting video of painting waves in acrylic. He was really helpful.

I had to alter the approach because my water was river water and the light shown directly onto it. My goal also was to capture the movement of the river in a static format. Could I give a sense of the clean brightness of the river rippling along and lapping the shoreline?

Here are the results:

5I was delighted at my first attempt at water, even though I clearly have a ways to go. In the photo the right foreground was almost entirely black, so I needed some shapes to add texture and establish the near area to the viewer, so I added more forms to the rocks and color to the trees, which were just silhouettes. I struggled with the white paint and making it reflect the light as I wanted, but for a first attempt, I have to be satisfied. He has the painting now, hanging near the Ohio River.

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