The Anatomy of Cascading Water

Everyone loves the whimsy of water in a bubbling brook as it runs over rocks and cascades into little waterfalls of frothy foam. Artist and author, Julie Gilbert Pollard is no different; painting water moves her artistic soul and is one of her favorite subjects to paint in watercolor, oil, or acrylic.

Painting Cascading Water in Watercolor by Julie Gilbert Pollard

Painting Cascading Water in Watercolor by Julie Gilbert Pollard

To capture the essence of the movement and energy of water, Julie looks at the anatomy of water–the basic shapes–before painting water. By simplifying this complicated subject, Julie shows that yes, you can paint water in watercolor, or any favorite painting medium of your choice.

By comparing the anatomy of cascading water to the same breakdown as the skirt of a wedding gown, you will be able to see and paint shapes that result in exciting, realistic water paintings. Here are the 5 parts of cascading water:

  1. Waist
  2. Folds of the Skirt
  3. Ruffle
  4. Train
  5. Lace
The anatomy of painting water by Julie Gilbert Pollard

The anatomy of painting water by Julie Gilbert Pollard

Take reference photos and look for these 5 parts of cascading water. Use a sharpie or your finger to trace over each part of the water, mimicking the way the water flows toward the “waist,” how it drops down in “folds” and crashes into “ruffles” that spread out into a foamy “train” and break up into “lace.” By painting water with this anatomy in mind, you’ll achieve successful paintings every time!

To learn more tips for Painting Cascading Water: Watercolor Unleashed watch this video preview below. Then visit ArtistsNetwork.tv to access the full-length video, and learn how to paint water in all your favorite mediums.

In Painting Cascading Water: Watercolor Unleashed you’ll learn watercolor painting tips to

  • Establish a Strong Composition and Drawing
  • Lock in Dark Values
  • Protect Lights
  • Wet Paper
  • Paint the Rocks
  • Paint the Background
  • Develop the Foliage
  • Add Finishing Touches with Gouache

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