Thursday, April 11, 2013

Going with the Flow, Part 2

From the Top, pastel, 10x8
For the second part of our series on "moving water" in my pastel classes, we studied a tall waterfall that travels down a much farther distance than the subject we painted last week. Some of the same basic observations from last week still applied (i.e., the center most, or more concentrated, area of the waterfall is lighter in value and warmer in temperature than the edges), but from a composition standpoint, we found that the placement of the water in this particular scene was important.

Since the waterfall here is more of a rapid trickle, rather than a "Niagara Falls" type, the angles and "thicks" and "thins" of the water movement are important in order to depict that the water is falling from one ledge of rocks to another.

The treatment of the edges are also key. The further the water free falls without obstruction, the softer the edges become.

The bright splash of blue in the sky was a fun element to add. Under normal conditions, the sky is a lighter, less intense color where it meets the land at the horizon. However, since this scene has the viewer looking upward a great distance, a deeper, more vivid blue sky is seen there. For color harmony, I made sure to work some of that vibrant blue into the rocks, which worked nicely to perk up the otherwise neutral colors.

"From the Top" was my demo from this morning's class. Below are some progression shots of the demo, which began with an alcohol wash over about six Rembrandt pastels.


  1. You depicted it beautifully. There are so many scenes like this in north Georgia. Love all the beautiful colors.

    1. Thanks, Judy! Yes, this is north Georgia...Amicalola Falls.

  2. Gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing this demo and your thoughts on falling water, Barbara. I'll try not to be so afraid of attempting it!

  3. This one really took my breath away with the bright sky on top!