|'Peace on Earth' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
This scene was fun to paint and gives me the opportunity to share one of my favorite tips for painting reflections and making water look wet. I don't overthink my reflections. I know there are certain 'rules' about reflections. Dark objects will be slightly lighter in the reflection and light objects will appear slightly darker. I don't really consider this as I paint. Sometimes too many rules bog me down.
But I have discovered a technique that tends to make the reflections believable and they end up being 'correct' without too much angst. Read on for the details:
|My plan and underpainting|
- When I put a color in a shape that is above the water I put the same stick of color down into the water. Example.....I put green in a tree then I use the same color in the reflection before I put the stick back.
- IMPORTANT: I pull the pastel stick DOWN and make a vertical stroke in the water for the reflection. If I were to use the same quality of mark in both the tree and the reflection it would be difficult to know which was the tree and which was the reflection.
- Pulling strokes down for reflections helps give the illusion of wetness in the water.
- Next step is to BLEND the vertical strokes so they are soft and 'watery'. I use my finger or a white magic eraser to pull and soften the strokes. *This is the key to success.* The blended marks give the viewer a clue that they are looking at reflections in water and not an upside down tree!
- I Paint all water in HORIZONTAL strokes. I pull some of the water strokes across the reflection....just in some areas. I don't want to obscure the entire reflection.
|Small color study for the hotel project|