Still water

I’m catching up on scanning some stuff from my trip out west last week. This one is a demo from the last morning of a three-day workshop at the Sawtooth Botanical Gardens in Gimlet, Idaho. The high-desert garden is quite unique and beautiful, with a stream that runs around the perimeter of the site. There are small waterfalls and tranquil pools, like this one, each one shaded and perfect for sketching.

Although reflections are challenging, this demo was about simplifying the shapes in the water. I always imagine that if you can express both vertical and horizontal directions in the water, then you may be able to convey the illusion of reflections. For me, most things reflected in still water are vertical shapes, like grasses, trees, etc., and to that you add horizontal shapes on the surface of the water (lily pads, algae or ripples). If you can express those two directions with an economy of brushstrokes, perhaps they will successfully create that illusion. Not sure how other painters deal with this, but that’s my way of looking at it.

20 Comments on “Still water”

  1. I love this new painting, Still Water. [I also have a painting I named Still Water on my website.] In yours, there is a wonderful balance of colors and shapes, warm and cool, and concrete depiction and abstraction. Lovely!


  2. Yorky says:

    Beautifully done.


  3. M. L. Kappa says:

    This is something I find really hard, so thanks for the tips!


  4. Bernadette says:

    Masterfully done….I don’t evaluate critically but simply respond to the image before me…without much thought. I appreciate your wisdom of an experienced painter. Your post calls me to be more mindful.


  5. Wonderful! I can feel the calm.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Judy Sopher says:

    I agree with M.L. Kappa that this is hard to do. And you have done it,obviously. I especially love your use of greens in the reflections.


  7. tsc69216 says:


    Liked by 1 person

  8. joantav says:

    I love the elegant simplicity of this!!!


  9. Maravillosas acuarelas. Felicidades….


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