Sunday, 8 April 2012

Moments of Reflection + new "Skies" painting

Painting shore reflections on water

One of the joys of painting landscapes with acrylics is using their natural transparency to your advantage when painting shoreline reflections in a lake or river scene. I could go on for a long time on this as I find them a challenging and very satisfying subject to paint but I will be discussing this topic over several post.

Water is a colourless liquid that reflects the surrounding atmosphere and land. Depending on the water clarity and weather a reflection can be mirror-like to very broken up.
Detail of photo - Reflections on a quiet pond 
As you can see in the photo I took last fall at a pond not far from my home the still water and sunny day makes for a very mirror-like reflection of the shoreline and trees.

Note how the reflections are muted and almost hang straight down into the water. Reflected details become "smudged" and typically are bit darker than their source.

Click on the image from my photo to see an enlargement.

Detail - Large version of Standing Guard, Agawa Canyon
When I paint reflection of a shore on quiet water I usually start with what the land and/or sky looks like and carry the colours from those passages into the water. In the example to the right I painted the reflections by taking each shore passage directly into the water while I painted the trees etc. Using a  more painterly brushstroke I normally paint thr reflection a a stright down passage and add subtle details later. More and more layers of transparent glazes are used in the shore and for the reflection. Over these I paint a watered down glaze of pure ultramarine/cobalt blue or a glaze of Alizarin Crimson over the green.

Detail - Fine Day, Algoma
In the detail of Fine day, Algoma (private Collection) you can see what I mean about dragging your image of trees and shore directly downwards into the water. This scene also shows how the sky reflection takes on a darker blue.

I also placed some discrete blue passages very lightly over the reflections to give the illusion of water and I softened the edges to "smudge" and mute the reflected areas..

There is a full demonstration page in my web site that shows how I painted the smaller version of Standing Guard, Agawa Canyon that has a lot of reflected shore on water passages. Check it out. You can access via "About Me" in the top right

New Painting - "Storm Over Superior" - Acrylic on 24"x24" gallery wrapped canvas.

This new painting shows my love for the sky and clouds. Lake Superior can be very dramatic and this scene takes the Lake's drama to a new level for me. I took some creative liberties on this while painting the clouds. More of these to come. This one here is for sale. Contact me for details.
"Storm over Superior"  by Warren Peterson

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