How to Paint Water With Acrylics

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When painting water using acrylics, prime the canvas using a dark gesso, apply washes of blue to show the sky's reflection, and add highlights to represent the water's glossy surface. Illustrate the illusion of water on canvas with creative advice from a professional artist in this free video on painting with acrylics.

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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Ralph Papa at papagallery.com, and today we are learning about acrylic painting. In this clip I am going to show you how to paint water with acrylic paint. And here again I am using some basic colors mainly the primaries, and a few secondaries, and I pretreated my canvas. Instead of a white acrylic gesso as an under base I used black. Since a lot of the water here is going to be of the reflection that we are getting under the water, which will have a dark appearance. So having black on there to start with gives me a good base so that when I start I can just basically start over the black, and if any of the blue is not covering the black it is not as apparent. It almost looks like I am seeing under the water. So I am mainly putting a wash in to reflect that the water is reflecting the sky, which is blue. Yet I am getting a very dark appearance, because it is usually in a pond or a lake, and beneath that it is very dark. So we will take that right down to the very bottom here, and we will apply that base there. And where we get drips coming down we can either hold the canvas flat to stop the drips, or sometimes you might like them in there it gives a paintily look to it. But if they are in the way you can just blend them out with your brush. So pretty much I have, I going to have a horizon line here, and all this is going to be water. And that is basically the surface of the pond. What I am going to do now is add some other colors into the blue to have some more colors of the sky reflecting in to it. Here I am going to be taking a little white with a little blue, which has a touch of green in it. And just getting a whiter blue to that so that some surfaces of the water is going to have some reflection of the sky where it might be bright you know. And as I am going back in the pond I am making these strokes a little narrow to give it some sense of distance you know. Here it is wider so it gives me a feeling that I am getting reflections off of the sky or whatever is around it. Once again this has been Ralph Papa, and thank you for watching.

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