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Translucent Water

~Achieving the illusion of depth when painting water~


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Producing this effect is really quite simple. Primarily, the depth of water is noticed in areas of your composition where there are dark reflections. In these areas, one is free to add objects beneath the waters surface i.e., rocks, plants, etc.

Prior to creating this illusion; simply paint an underpainting of the area where the water will be painted - rocks, sand, etc. Imagine what the landform below the waters surface would look like. Next, apply very thin glazes of greens or blues or browns. Keep the depth of the water in mind - the deeper areas will be darker. The areas near the shoreline will be lighter and reveal more detail of the forms beneath. The gradation from light to dark in water reveals its depth.

In addition, water is highly reflective. Adding a bit (or a lot) of the sky color to the waters surface will add to the illusion of depth you're striving for.

More Tips:
Introduction Page | Optical Mixing | Color Contrasts
Hue, Value, Intensity, Color Temperature | Composition | Technical Tips | Value Scale
Red Power | Keeping Acrylics Moist | Brush Care | Color | Young/Helmholtz | Book Excerpt


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