start the waterfall with an underpainting
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.
Start with an underpainting.
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.
pull out the waterfall
While the underpainting is still wet, dampen a flat brush with solvent, turn it sideways and pull out the waterfall.
Pull out the waterfall with a damp brush.
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.
the basics of oil painting
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.
paint the dark colors first. Paint the dark layers, thin. Then paint lighter and thicker, as the painting
The lightest and whitest colors are painted last. Generally they will be straight paint with nothing added.
paint the background
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.
Paint the sky.
- Dull a little bit of blue with either red or orange. Then, mix it with your white.
- Paint from the top down. The sky is darker at the top and it gets lighter toward the horizon. Paint the entire sky. There is no need to leave space for the clouds.
- Mix a warm white by adding a tiny bit of yellow, orange or red.
- Paint in the tops of the clouds first. Clean and dry your brush. Use the clean brush and softly blend the white into the blue.
We want the clouds softer and darker than the waterfall. They are background. They should not be a distraction when we paint a waterfall.
paint the face of the cliff
Use a flat brush painting up and down to indicate the direction of the rock formations.
Brush in the direction of the rocks.
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".
continue the cliff
Paint the cliff all the way up to the edge of the foliage.
- Notice the base of the cliff is darker where it meets the water.
Paint in some thicker, light colors over the top of the thin, dark colors to indicate the rocky texture.
Paint a Waterfall, Day One
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.