Painting Moving Water

Learning to painting moving water is sort of a catch-22. Painting it from life is the best way to understand the light, shadow and values. But it’s challenging to grasp how to capture a constantly moving subject in a painting. Alternatively, a photograph—which does indeed stop the image so you can study it more carefully—often distorts light, shadow and values to such a degree that it’s difficult to paint it accurately when basing it on only what you see in the photo. Learning what typically needs to be corrected from the photographic image for this subject matter can help with understanding how to approach painting it.



In this lesson, I’ll demonstrate in pastel and explain what usually needs correcting from the photo reference, and how to set up these corrections. I’ll also show how color temperature and value structure are key to creating the necessary light and shadow in this type of water, plus some further explanation regarding mark making, and how it all comes together to create dramatic moving water.

This lesson is provided as a downloadable PDF with a lesson written by Barbara Jaenicke.


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