Paint Water Reflections

Learn how to paint water reflections in oils or acrylics with wet on wet loose painting techniques.

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Learn the finer points of how to paint water reflections.
Here are the basic steps.
Paint the water and reflections in one sitting (wet on wet)

Lay down the colors of the sky reflection with horizontal brushstrokes.
Roughly paint the tree or background reflections over the wet sky paint.
Brush all the wet paint straight down with single brushstrokes using a wide soft clean dry brush.
Place white ripples perfectly horizontal where needed.

Paint water like a mirror.

The reflections don’t need to be exactly like the things on the bank but should be from the same colored paint.
paint water reflections
You might have dry paint where the reflections of the sky should be. If so you need to repaint the reflection of the sky and best to give it a thin coat.

On you gather the skills of painting perfect water you will be able to paint water into all your landscapes using this technique.

Mistakes can be fixed

Sometimes a line or streak will appear in your reflections that should not be there. Often you can add a tree branch or trunk to align with these streaks or lines.
If your reflections are still wet and you are not happy with then, scrape the paint off and try again.
You can also paint over unsatisfactory reflections, so don’t worry about not getting them right.

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by Len Hend

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