Howard Friedland has an upcoming Liliedahl art video workshop, which walks you through the steps of how to paint waterfalls with oil.
BY HOWARD FRIEDLAND
What is it about water that sparks our imaginations? It’s something very primal in humans that draws folks to paintings that include bodies of water, oceans, rivers, streams and, yes, waterfalls. People will hike miles to get a view of an awesome waterfall. Artists carry gear and climb steep, rocky trails to paint them. At times, I have even set up in very precarious situations to get the best angle to view my composition.
Waterfalls have movement. They can be thunderously crashing and loud or have delicate trickles that drip down from cliffs. They can tumble gently over boulders in a river or drop precipitously from great heights.
In any form, as artists, our goal is to capture the essence, the glistening light and animated nature of falling water.
A few words about creating a sense of transparency with oil paint: Oil paint is considered to be an opaque medium. Unlike watercolor, where it is possible to overlay one color over another to create the illusion of transparency, oil paint must be applied differently.
It is absolutely possible to create the illusion of transparency by placing the right spot of color next to another spot of color that is also correct. Using this method, you can make water or glass look very transparent.
Also, a note about paint texture. Another way to enhance your painting is to have a variety of “paint dynamics” in your painting. This means creating an interesting surface quality in your work. Viewers (especially other painters) love to get up close to see brush techniques.
If you keep your paint thin and mysterious in the shadows and thick and juicy in the light, you are using the paint itself to create another visual dimension. The French impressionists had a name for this technique; it’s called “touche” (toosh). It means the “Artist’s Touch.” ~H. F.
Fun side note! Howard is married to the artist Susan Blackwood; they’ve shared a home and studio in Montana for many years. Learn more about Howard at howardfriedland.com, and stay tuned for his upcoming Streamline Art Video on how to paint waterfalls, of which he said, “You’ll learn practical ways of starting, developing and finishing a painting of a beautiful waterfall.”
Do you have a favorite waterfall you’ve painted, or would like to? Tell us about it in the comments section below!