Reflections are a part of our daily lives. In future posts, I might touch on reflections on metal and glass, but for today let's talk about...
Reflections on Water
Once again, I shall sound like a broken record...do NOT paint what you think is there, paint what you see! For instance, if the water is quiet, the reflection appears almost as still as the subject above it. If the water's choppy, incorporate horizontal strokes to agitate the surface of the water in your painting. These 2 examples are photographs, but I think they illustrate the subject very well.
Below are two examples of paintings where reflections are integral parts of my paintings. I often find myself seeking out those sites that can offer me some good reflections to paint.
Here's another tip to keep in mind: Reflections are usually mirror images of the subject. Once you have the subject on the land sketched out, you could trace it onto tracing paper, flip the paper over into the water section and use it as a general guide as you draw the reflection. This can help with positioning of things, but the painting part still has to look looser than the land above it, or else it can look cartoon-y or amateurish.
|"The Promised Rest" by Helen K. Beacham|
The actual applying of paint into the reflection area is one of my favorite things to do. I thoroughly wet my paper and allow it to soak in a bit. While it's sitting, I prepare my individual puddles of color on my palette, choose the right size brush, and start painting in the lightest values first, just as I do for the most part in the rest of the painting. Be aware that the pigment will tend to float and spread on the wet paper, so I paint my shapes (like the tree trunks or dock posts) a little thinner than what they should be, and hopefully they grow to the right thickness on my wet paper.
|"Docked at Shem Creek" by Helen K. Beacham|
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