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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Living Waters Undulate, Inundate, and Facinate Artists

"Skudeneshavn Norway" 20 x 16 Oil on canvas
It’s always hard to get ahead of the curve. Just when you think you’re pulling forward, someone or something pulls the plug on you.  Last week it was a leaky roof. Our place is about 17 years old, and one by one, the houses around us have been getting new tile roofs. Now it’s our turn.

Once the water gets through, however minimal, the damage above has already occurred and wood rot begins. We’ve repaired three fascias’ already, and there may be more. But that’s “water under the bridge.” (I couldn’t resist).

When our family lived in Kansas City, we battled water continually. Except for a bedroom for our teenage son, the leaky parts of the basement had prevented us from refurbishing it.

Finally we found a solution to the crack that ran diagonally down one wall. A friend who repaired swimming pools slathered it with a rubber adhesive that sealed any leaks. We were ecstatic.
"Arabesque" 18 x 14 Oil on canvas
After several dry months went by, we painted and laid carpet in our new family room. The children and their friends finally had a place to hang out. And then the spring rains started up with a vengeance. We held our breath, but the patch held.

The rains continued; one of the heaviest downpours in K.C. history. The front window well filled and flooded into the basement, and then another and another. We started a bucket brigade, but couldn’t keep up with the water filling the wells back up again.

We ended up taking out our soggy new carpet and replacing it with area rugs that could be rolled up in a hurry and put away. We dug trenches around the wells and added pipes to draw the water away. We slanted the front yard so the water wouldn’t come towards the house. Alas, nothing worked. A hard rain could still wipe us out in a matter of minutes simply by filling up the window wells.

"Egret Reflections" SOLD/Prints available.
Water is one of the necessities of life we cannot live without. We fear it. We’re drawn to its sparkling surfaces and its shadowy depths. Without water we would perish; and yet, we have difficulty controlling its unpredictable movements and enormous strength.

Recent flooding this summer in the Midwest brought back so many memories. Artists try to capture the violence and beauty of water; its serenity and peace.

How do you make reflections both in the water and on top of it? Small wavelets on the surface create white netting in the sunlight. Depth changes color. Clarity demands a different technique to indicate a translucence that depicts the sandy or rocky bottom below. 

Painting water requires practice. Once you get the hang of it, brushing on water is fun and addictive. 

Water droplets seem almost impossible until you realize that you have to get away from the canvas before they appear realistic. When you learn how to make them, you have to learn when to stop. Too many of them may give your canvas the look of poke a dots.

"Kelly's Rose" (A rose heavy with rain water) 16 x 12 Acrylic on Panel
It is easy to get carried away as you get better and better at painting lakes, seas, oceans, rivers and puddles. Samples of my own work throughout this blog illustrate how you get better at painting water with practice.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce

I chose the following three artists to demonstrate their personal techniques for water paintings done in acrylics.

Marion Boddy-Evans shows you how to paint water droplets 

Lori McNee has the best suggestions for painting different types of water 


Mark Waller shows you the fine details and colors that make up the ocean’s surface.