Quiet, calm water is a mirror reflecting what is sitting on or near the water. It would be rare to find a still body of water that wasn't reflecting something around it. Not to mention boring. The more movement in the water, the more the reflections wiggle in the water. Each wave and ripple acts as an individual
Paint calm water using mostly horizontal strokes. Diagonal and vertical directions just don't work unless the water is spilling or splashing.
A calm harbor reflects wiggling lines as in Figure 11-2. I started with a sketch of the boats so I would know where to save the whites. The water was painted by first making a graduated wash starting at the pier and coming forward using light cerulean blue, then cobalt, then ultramarine blue, then burnt sienna, and a little Payne's gray. Next I painted the boats. Then I painted the distant, very diluted purple-gray background. Next I painted the riggings on the boats.
After you get the subject matter in place, you can reflect it into the water. The reflection is a grayed-down version of the item mirrored in the water. And painting the darker reflection last follows the watercolor rule of painting light colors first and dark colors last. To gray a color, just add a bit of its complement, the color opposite it on the color wheel (see the color wheel on the Cheat Sheet at the front of this book or the one in Chapter 5). To establish a little movement in the water, wiggle the lines.
I lifted the white waves by dragging a damp stiff bristle brush across the area and blotting with a paper towel. Quick and easy. The pier was added next to fill in the white area between the background and water. Last, I echoed the blue-gray of the water with a quick sweep of the same color in the sky.
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