Water always gives an aesthetic touch to a landscape drawing or painting. But, just like the clouds in the sky, water can assume so many different forms and we really need to start by putting our thoughts in order. Remember, water is a fluid: it runs, flows, jumps, gushes and spurts.
Depending on its movement, its own or its reflected colour can change completely. You will doubtless have noticed how a stretch of water which appears dark blue one morning may become green or grey as the day wears on. The influence of the sky is often at work here.buy commercial wrecking ball inflatable
As you know, of course, you cannot rely on the pencil to reproduce colours, so once again you will need to think and observe in terms of values.
Stretches of water. This category will include the sea, lakes, ponds, canals (not strictly speaking running water), puddles and all other forms of static water. In the absence of wind, these waters are nothing more nor less than mirrors forcing you to draw he same subject twice, once the right way up and once “upside down”. That is actually not strictly speaking true since, as you know, the reflection of an object is never entirely identical to the object – or rather, it is the same thing but seen from a different angle.
The module on how to construct reflections in perspectives deals, I hope, with this question fairly clearly so I suggest that we confine ourselves here to the shapes and tones which water can take.
Streams, rivers, all kinds of waterfall large and small, all natural or artificial spillways fall into the category of running water. Whenever their shape alters their reflections change as well. When you learn to observe a stream, you notice how the water flowing against a rock winds itself in a continuous movement giving the illusion of an unchanging aspect.
We learn that the particles of water making up this border and then a series of wavelets going round an obstacle are in fact in constant movement. And yet we look upon the whole as something more solid, like a sort of vitreous paste left to cool. A photograph which fixes or freezes running water sometimes gives this unreal look to a mass of undulating water.
But in your drawing are you going to emphasise or downplay this special effect?
The photographer’s choice
An accomplished photographer can easily lengthen or reduce the camera’s shutter speed, and when he takes a photo of a waterfall he can choose his exposure time. The result is a different photograph each time. If the exposure time is short the waterfall will be “frozen”, showing thousands of clearly defined drops of water separated from each other like glass marbles rendered elongated by their movement. But in the case of a longer exposure time, several successive positions of each drop will be superimposed on the role of film, thereby creating a plethora of light marks indicating the direction of their movement. The result is a certain blur due to the speed at which the drops move. This result will undoubtedly be more realistic and close to what is perceived by the naked eye.
If you opt for this second approach you will render the effect of blur and movement through lines running parallel to the movement of the water. Don’t overdo this effect or else you run the risk of lapsing into convention. Remember, you are not trying to emulate the cartoon approach where movement is indicated by the lines situated behind the objects. This convention which works very well in comic strip drawings would be entirely out of place in a landscape drawing.
Tonality of reflections in still water In rendering the reflection of an object, you will be at pains to observe the general tonality of what is reflected compared to the original. In many instances, the whole is a little darker and a little less contrasted, but this not always the case. With water, there is sometimes a light mist serving to “bleach” the entire range of tones of the reflected part.
This observation is important for getting you on the right track, but once you have decided whether the reflection is lighter or darker, stick to your guns and be consistent in your range of tones.