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Charles Reid’s 5 Tips for Painting Water

There is a wonderful site for watercolourists called ‘The Watercolor Artist’, an American site that sends you all sorts of useful tips and information – all you have to do is subscribe.  It is an electronic newsletter devoted exclusively to watermedia and designed especially for you, the watermedia artist.  Email them on Watercolor Artist [] and they’ll send you their weekly newsletter.
In their February 25th letter, they published this piece by Charles Reid which we thought we would pass on to you – both from an informative point of view, as well as to see they type of article they publish.

Charles Reid’s 5 Tips for Painting Water

Here’s a little gem we plucked from our archives: Charles Reid’s best tips for painting water:

1. Water should be painted with hard edges between the light from the sky and the reflections from trees, buildings or boats.
2. Paint wet-in-wet within the reflections but rarely where the reflection meets the sunlight.
3. For distant water on the horizon, try moist Antwerp blue or peacock blue (Holbein). Sometimes I use ultramarine violet if the horizon line of the sea seems very dark.
4. In shallow water, use diluted Antwerp blue, peacock blue or Winsor blue. These are all transparent blues that retain their color identity when diluted.
5. Sometimes water near the shore can turn a delicate turquoise green. You can add turquoise green to your palette, or simply mix diluted cadmium yellow pale or lemon yellow with one of the diluted blues to achieve the same color.

1 thought on “Charles Reid’s 5 Tips for Painting Water

  1. Thank you Charles for this painting information. Could you, perhaps, at some time show us how to paint water with several photos taken of a work in progress?

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