Notes from Ron Howell's "The artist's guide to painting water in watercolor.

Painting calm water

  • Water in the distance = light value

  • water closer up - darker.

  • If you are at the same level as the subject - it's reflection will be brighter.

  • Looking down from higher up? A darker reflection.

  • "The value of reflected objects which are far from the viewer will be slightly darker than the objects themselves, while the value of reflected objects in the foreground will be much darker than the objects themselves."

  • "Lights reflect darker and darks reflect lighter."

  • A post in clear water has a dark reflection. A post in dirty water has a lighter reflection.

  • "The color of a reflection is a combination of the color of the object being reflected, the color of the sky, and the inherent color of the water"

  • Go and look at reflections in water and ask yourself why they might look as they do

  • No rules when it comes to what the color of a reflection should be - it depends.

  • Pay attention to perspective - your reflections just as much need to follow the perspectives as the originating object does.

Painting ripples

  • "To paint the phenomenon of rippled water, brush strokes must be applied to damp paper so there are no hard edges in the ripples."

  • There are three reasons your attempt to paint rippled water might fail the first time:

    1. The paper was too wet when you applied the ripples.

    2. The paper was too dry.

    3. There was too much water in your brush when you painted the ripples.