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In a landscape, the presence of water really gives a new liveliness to the scene, both in its reflection of the sky and the vegetation, and in its mobile, rippling surface, which is rarely still. Even a still lake or stream has a twinkling effect as the light bounces off the surface. The three images selected here are marvellous evocations of watery scenes by master artists.

Now let us look more closely at trees reflected in water. I have chosen Gustav Fjaestad's snowy scene Winter Evening by a River (1907) where the water reflects the trunks of the adjacent trees in dark and light swirls. Broken reflections in running water is a difficult but very interesting effect to attempt to draw and you can try it in any season.

Drawing Colour

A rather more summery scene of trees reflected in water is this simplified version of Monet's Seine at Giverny (1897), which he produced in a range of blues, greens and whites. Our version gives a dramatic effect with the almost monochrome range of strong blues and whites, executed in pastels, which can look very similar to oil paints. The bright gap of white sky seen through the heavily shaded trees is reflected rather less sharply in the water. The greens and blues of the trees are also reflected there, less defined in a more generalized colour splash. It is a very rich and dramatic picture, although tranquil at the same time.

Now for a scene with running water taken from Joseph Wright of Derby's version of Rydal Lower Falls in 1795. Although the scene has hardly changed to this day, our re-creation of it in coloured pencil probably doesn't have quite the power of his, which is partly due to the medium. It is a good medium for gradation and variety in colour, but not so punchy in effect as other media.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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