Three Tips for Painting Water in Pastel


Reflections of Portofino (28×40) by Milton Meyer

Something compels us to visit a tumultuous sea or to seek solace on the banks of a pond. Even within a city, we’re drawn toward a reflective surface—a shimmering river or a silvery canal. Take the plunge into painting water with this expert advice from Milton Meyer:

  • Scumbling over a base color with another pastel or with the side of the point of a sharpened pastel pencil is a helpful technique for depicting water.
  • Reflections always point toward you, even if you change your position or the water is agitated. An angled reflected object, such as a leaning tree or a boat prow, creates a reverse angle reflection.
  • In “normal” light, reflections tend to be darker than the objects reflected, unless the objects themselves are very dark, in which case the reflections may appear muted or lighter in tone. The intrinsic color of the water will affect the color of the reflection.

Find six more tips from the artist, as well as waterscapes and other insights from Dick McEvoy and Barbara Makanowitzky, in this single article download from The Pastel Journal. At just $1.99, the price can’t be beat.


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