Lesson 6 by rstites


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									Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

     The text and original art in this document are the property of Robert Stites, all rights reserved.   Page 1
            Pastel Painting: Lesson Six, Water

Water can assume as many appearance states as clouds in the sky. Without attempting to give an exhaustive
description, we show some examples you might need to use in landscape painting, and give a representative
painting example.

 Still Water

When water is motionless and undisturbed, its surface is flat and glassy, accurately reflecting objects above
and beyond it. In this beautiful photo by George Lu, reflected objects undergo a slight color shift toward blue
(probably due to microorganisms in the water) while showing the trees beyond in surprising detail.

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             Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

Water forms hundreds of little
wavelets in response to a light
breeze, giving the surface a
mottled appearance. (photo
by Faye Pini)

If the wind rises only a little,
the wavelets may combine
into long strands called swells.
Amid these we can still make
out the reflections of the boat
and fishermen. Notice, the
value changes occuring in
horizontal bands across the
picture, indicating uneven
wind distribution as well as a
change in reflected forms.
(photo by Duncan Harris)

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            Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

If the wind increases further,
waves become choppy,
gathering together in
mounds and peaks, with
rough edges like those in this
picture. (Photo by Baltec)

When disturbed by a
foreign object such as a
moving boat or a pebble,
ripples surround the source
of the disturbance. (photo
by John Schanlaub)

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             Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

Turbulence (as in
breaking waves or a
waterfall), causes the
water to encapsulate
air, turning it white
and foamy.
(photo by Linda

Still water, which is
also clear and shallow,
is not only reflective
but translucent. In this
case we see the bottom
through a surface glaze
of sky (photo: Linda

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             Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

At night, water reflects lights in long
vertical bands.
This beautiful photo was taken at the
1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago
(photographer unknown).

Hue and Value Changes
Waves like these have curved surfaces which act
like convex mirrors. In this photo, sunlight comes
from above right, with the sky reflected in the
valleys (medium blue), the sun on the crests
(yellow flecks), and shadows on the near left sides
(dark blue). (photo by Yaaay)

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            Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

These examples represent only a few of water’s many, many appearance states. Variables involved include
direction and strength of illumination, force and direction of the wind, observer’s viewpoint, turbulence, and
the clarity and color of the water itself. Because of all these variables, water does not lend itself well to
painting from memory or the imagination. Instead, the artist should observe the subject directly or work from
a good photograph like the ones shown.

For this lesson, we can skip the exercise and move directly to the example, because we will all be painting the
same subject.
This is a spillway at a fish hatchery, chosen because it shows water in several appearance states: parts of the
overflow are transparent, reflecting the sky, others turbulent; beyond the turbulence the water is still and
translucent., as seen in this fine photo by mikemol.

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            Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

                   Spillway, Rough Drawn                                    Spillway, Blocked In

On the pebbly side of a quarter sheet, rough draw the iron and concrete structures, indicating the locations of
the spill and foam, all in white hard pastel; block in the colors.

Changing to soft pastel, lay down a
dark gray for the concrete, fix, scumble
with a warm light gray, taking care to
show the direction of the light (from
above left). Try not to load up the
pebbled surface, as it helps show the
coarse texture of the concrete.

                                                                    Spillway half done

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             Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

Apply a van Dyke brown to the iron, rub, fix, and scumble with sanguine to show rust.
Using ultramarine hashed with burnt sienna, paint the lower weir of the spillway (showing between the
rivuletes), and rub in. It should be very dark. Fix when satisfied with the hue, refine the rivulets, using a glaze
of cerulean blue for the transparent parts and white charcoal pencil for turbulent foam and highlights. Use
Naples yellow for the stones visible on the bottom. Glaze with cerulean blue to show that the water is not
only reflective, but translucent. The foam can be done in broken color, using white, cerulean blue, and flecks
of sanguine, showing reflections of sky and rusty iron. Use a white charcoal pencil for highlights.
Touch up all around and sign.

                                           Fish Hatchery Spillway, RWS

Revised 5/2/2011

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Pastel Painting Lesson Six, Water

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