Watercolour, Waterfall

An experiment today in trying to be freer with watercolour. I ransacked our photos for a good nature scene, and turned up this one taken high up near the start of Yosemite Falls, a summer time view when the renowned falls are more of a quiet trickle.

Yosemite falls watercolour.JPG

Of course, in the spirit of experimentation I did what you should never do, and tried several unfamiliar things at once: A3 stretched paper; tube paint; Manganese Blue; a Chinese brush; squirting water on to the background. Some of these things worked pretty well – the brush was lovely, although it took a little adapting to as it is more willful than my usual red sable. The tube paint allowed for more depth than I normally manage, which is a very good result. Manganese blue I will steer clear of in future for skies as I felt it was a bit grainy for what I wanted. Squirting water – well, I did this on the first layer of water, mountain and sky. It was a bit unpredictable, took ages to dry off, and I still applied the darker shades of mountain too soon, hence the upward bleeding into the sky.

I had a good time making the water and its reflections. The boulders were a bit of a challenge. At the outset I’d imagined just suggesting them with cling film, but when it came to it I didn’t have the courage. So, they turned out more controlled than I’d hoped. I do wonder now whether I should have reserved some whites with masking fluid, but I thought at the outset I didn’t need to. Not to worry. The trees were hard though, I definitely think I need more tree practice…these ones are ok if you don’t look too closely!


23 thoughts on “Watercolour, Waterfall

  1. I think you walking on the side of unfamiliar with materials or approach is a great way to loosen up. I think that you did an awesome job, it is all discovery and sometimes it does take throwing caution to the wind to loosen up or discover how far you can go with your paint or materials. Trees are hard! the more you practice and just do it, the better you will become.

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  2. I want to be there right this minute!! Love this view… it’s like you can just float into it right down the river. Beautiful painting! I love it. 😍It’s definitely looser… and yet still creates a wonderful illusion. That’s something I’m hoping to try and experiment with as well!

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    • …I did have to work quite hard and repeatedly to get the darks deep enough, so I’m glad you think that worked. Light on the rocks was an afterthought, lifted out with a stiff flat brush – fortunately the paint was compliant there. Amazingly, the water was fairly straightforward this time. I never can tell at the outset which bits are going to be ‘happy accidents’ but as long as there are some there’s hope! 😉

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  3. If you wanted to, you can regain some whites by scraping and scratching with a scalpel and then use a rubber to smooth over. It usually gives better highlights than masking fluid. I prefer using masking fluid on areas which already have colour on them – it looks less obvious.

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