Oil Painting Water

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Oil and water don't mix -- unless you are using the former to paint the latter. Then they go very well together. But there are a few pointers to bear in mind when painting water, although this discussion relates to inland water or waterscapes as opposed to seascapes.

A Difference Between Waterscapes And
One of the most important differences between painting a waterscape as compared to painting a seascape is that in the latter you are generally not concerned with what lies below the surface. For one reason or another the sea is usually too opaque and artists are mainly interested in capturing impressions of what is happening on, or not very far below the surface. By comparison, what lies below the surface is frequently of crucial importance in a waterscape

Below The Surface
A seascape is most often concerned with the action of the wind and tide on the surface of the sea, the tide bringing it on to, and the way is shattering on rocky coastlines or ships. But, in the painting of say, rivers, streams and lakes at least a very important element focuses on what lies on the bottom -- and showing that is not the easiest thing in oil painting.

Here are a few pointers to bear in mind:
1.use transparent oil paints for the water rather than opaque paint;
2.paint what is below the surface darker than what is above;
3.paint what is underneath the surface first;
4.indicate the flow of water passing rocks and stones with touches of white;
5. use thin glazes to represent the water.

Applying These Points
1.Using a transparent paint for the actual water will not block out what is below the surface, especially if you use a medium (such as, for example, Liquin Original) and mix a small quantity of paint into it, so that what you are going to apply is quite thin.

2.If you have, say, a stream with some rocks in it, position the rocks first -- and show the depth of the water by a darker band from the surface to the bed.

3.Anything below the surface is better painted first, whether that is small pebbles, or rocks, or those parts of larger rocks showing through the surface ( and painted lighter).
4.If the water is flowing, you can represent this and at the same time get a sense of depth by adding touches of white foam where the water impacts the object and passes it. (See for example my painting of Stream On The Isle Of Man ).

. 5.Build up the effect of flowing water with several glazing coats, painting round any large stones which go through the surface but painting over anything on the bed. Try different brushes. With a round or filbert brush, for example, it is easy, using some downward pressure, to create ripple--type effects on the surface.
Try, Try...
You will not get all the effects you want first time. Hence it is useful to try developing the skills on a cheap painting surface, but try only one or two effect at a time e.g. a couple of rocks on a stony stream bed.

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