Learn how to paint a waterfall, step by step with oil paints.
Painting a waterfall is a piece of cake. It’s fun and easy and it only takes three steps for the waterfall.
The landscape is a little bit more, but we will do that too. The landscape will be as simple as possible, so we can get to the waterfall.
This painting was done on a 16x20 stretched canvas. But we can use any size canvas or panels. Stretched canvas is recommended for paintings we intend to keep. Canvas boards are good for practice paintings.
My paintings are done with Winsor and Newton Griffin alkyds. They handle just like oil paints, except they dry faster. The techniques used the same as used for oil painting.
Our brush size depends on the size of the painting surface. This painting used #4 and #6 flats, #2 filbert and a 1/2" angle brush.
This painting uses; Lemon Yellow, Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red medium, Alizarin Crimson, Thalo Blue and Titanium White.
Using a paper palette makes cleanup easy.
Learn more about oil painting materials here.
It is advisable to do a value sketch on paper before starting any painting. After we get the values figured out, do a simple line sketch on the canvas.
Do a line sketch with paint that is thinned with a solvent. A yellow or Burnt Sienna will be easy to paint over later.
If we make a mistake, it is easy to rub off the line with a paper towel. A little solvent will take the line off completely.
You may notice some light pencil lines. The composition is based on the rule of thirds. The head of the waterfall comes out at the juncture of the top third lines.
Use a flat brush and roughly lay in a thin coat of colors. Thin your paint with solvent, so it will dry quickly. Use colors only, no white paint at this stage.
Don't be concerned about painting smooth colors, just scrub them on. I actually used the flat side of the brush to cover the area faster.
Cover the entire canvas with the underpainting.
This gives us the placement of the elements. But more importantly, we want to see their value relationships.
Squint your eyes and notice the side of the cliff is fairly dark and the base is a darker yet. Notice the area behind the colored trees is darker than the trees.
Values are the backbone of any painting.
While the underpainting is still wet, dampen a flat brush with solvent, turn it sideways and pull out the waterfall.
This gives us the placement of the waterfall. It is not necessary to get down to pure white canvas. We just need the placement.
Take a break while the underpainting dries, probably 30 to 60 minutes.
Paint from thin to thick. What does that mean?
The first layers of paint are thinned with a solvent. The paint is very "thin". The white canvas will show through the paint.
Cover the entire canvas with paint. Just like we did in the underpainting.
The thin paint layer maps out the color and values of the entire painting. This first thin layer dries fast.
Each successive layer of paint is mixed with less solvent or medium.
The last "thick" layer is paint straight from the tube with nothing added.
Paint dark to light.
Always paint the dark colors first. Paint the dark layers, thin. Then paint lighter and thicker, as the painting progresses.
The lightest and whitest colors are painted last. Generally they will be straight paint with nothing added.
Start with the background before we paint a waterfall.
Paint the sky first and then move to the closer items in the landscape.
This is my favorite way to paint a painting. It certainly is not the only way to paint, but it works for me.
We want the clouds softer and darker than the waterfall. They are background. They should not be a distraction when we paint a waterfall.
Use a flat brush painting up and down to indicate the direction of the rock formations.
Mix any cool, dark colors. Even though the cliff is mostly in shadow, it will still show different colors. A variation of colors is more interesting.
These dark colors are painted thin. That makes the next step easier. This applies not only when we paint a waterfall, but for any oil painting.
Remember "thin to thick" and "dark to light".
Paint the cliff all the way up to the edge of the foliage.
The underpainting is complete.
Now we can see what the painting will look like. This is a good stopping point for those who wish to take a break.
Before we paint a waterfall, paint the foliage. Use your artist imagination and think trees while you paint.
Paint some foliage hanging down over the edge of the cliff. Use a variety of strokes, shapes and colors.
The straight lines were painted with a flat, angle brush. A script liner brush would work just as well. The small filbert brush was used for the various small leaves.
Paint a few branches throughout the upper foliage.
It was a day for me. Continue if you wish.
Next we will do the lake and paint a waterfall.
Start painting the water beneath the waterfall. Like before, we paint the darks first.
The yellows plus, Thalo Blue with some white make a nice variety of turquoise and greens.
Subdue the greens with a bit of red. Mixing green colors
Blend the colors with horizontal strokes to make the water lay down.
After blending you will still see a variety of colors and a variety of darks and lights.
Use a bluish grey for the shadow part of the waterfall. Make your grey by mixing blue and orange with white. Thin the paint.
Use a small flat brush. Many people use a fan brush to paint a waterfall that will work, too
Use a very light touch. Position the bristles of the brush vertically, up and down.
Start at the top of the falls. As you stroke down the falls, gradually turn the brush horizontally, so the falls get wider. That makes is easy to paint a waterfall.
Notice, you can see the background through the thin paint.
Mix a warm white for the highlights. Warm colors
This time, do not thin the paint. Remember "thick over thin".
Pull the highlight color with the same light motion from the top of the waterfall, down the left side of the falls.
Don't cover up all of the bluish, shadow part on the right side of the falls.
Paint some bluish shadow colors (not thinned) where the water is splashing up when it hits the lake.
Finish painting the splashing water going out into the lake.
Paint the things behind and around the waterfall first, then the falls.
May 18, 23 08:12 AM
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