Please note: The Gift Bag is no longer available and was part of the first e-course

Lesson Description:

Painting waterfalls is a very exciting and actually a really fun subject. After much trial and error, I decided that painting everything that frames in the waterfalls is the best way to approach this subject. This lesson is about values and keeping the initial framing in very dark makes the waterfalls look light. Draw your subject with an HB pencil on Arches 140# cold press paper. Using a palette knife, flick a fine spray where the water hits the base of the falls. Be very generous, these fine particles of mist and spray really make the finished painting sparkle. There are two ways to paint the rocks. The foreground rocks should be very precise. Wet the rocks in the foreground very carefully with water. Add a warm color, and then add a cool color in the bottom two thirds of the rock and let the colors mingle on the paper. I used Quinacridone burnt orange, followed by cobalt blue. Place wax paper over the wet surface and let it remain until almost dry. When you remove the wax paper, adjust the textures and values so that the darkest value is on the bottom third of the rock. The middle of the rock should be mid tone and the top of the rock is the lightest area. Add more darks on the bottom of the rocks if necessary. The rocks in the background should be misty and atmospheric looking. I wet the rock area in the background rocks beyond the actual rock area. Place a warm color down, followed by a cool color. Place a cut out wax paper shape of your rocks over this wet area. The area beyond the wax paper will just dry as a soft wet area. This will create rocks that look like they are in the atmospheric mist from the falls. Continue painting all the rocks that frame the falls. Remove the wax paper when dry. Paint the background trees very soft and atmospheric. Mist the surface with water before you start painting the trees. Continue to soften the colors, leaving a few white dry shapes. Painting the trees frames in the water. You need the trees so you know where to paint the reflections in the water. Paint the water on dry paper. This way, when you throw or dry brush the paint onto the surface, you will leave little white, random shapes that look like surf. The horizontal water is much darker than the falling water. The dark values in the water are created by the surrounding rocks and trees reflecting in the water. The falls are the lightest value, going all the way to the white of the paper. When painting the falls, start with a mid- tone value at the top of the falls using a mixture of Quinacridone burnt orange and cobalt orange. Add pure water and tip the paper so gravity forces the water to fall downward. When the water reaches the bottom of the falls, lay the painting flat and immediately lift away the color with a tissue to create the misty part. Also add table salt to this misty area. When the painting dries, remove the masking and salt. (My demo starts out on 140# cold press half sheet paper. The water part is done on a full sheet stretched over a wooden frame. The stretched paper will require a finish of either Dorlan’s wax medium or four coats of Acrylic spray with UV protection.) 

Materials List
  • Palette Knife

  • HB Pencil

  • Script Brush

  • Scrubber Brush

  • Oriental Brush

  • Wax Paper

  • Oops Eraser

  • Table Salt

  • Q-Tips

  • Dorlands Wax or Krylon Fine Mister 

  • Colors Used 

  • Quinacridone Burnt Orange

  • Cobalt Blue

  • French ultramarine Blue

  • Antwerp Blue

  • Scarlet Lake

  • Quinacridone Gold

  • Winsor Yellow