My Waterfall Looks More Like a White Cottonball

Darrell. I’m having so much trouble painting that beautiful waterfall on your Basic Techniques of Oil Painting Water DVD. What am I doing wrong…….Vivian.

Hi Vivian, let me review exactly how I paint that waterfall and you let me know if anything is different from what you’re doing. First, I take a new canvas and coat it with Black Gesso and let it dry thoroughly. This should take about 30 minutes. Faster if you use a hair dryer on high heat.

Then cover the entire surface of the canvas with Clear Medium. Wipe off the excess with a clean, dry paper towel.

Now cover the canvas with a thin coat of Prussian Blue (or any other dark blue you have).

Using a #3 Bristle Fan brush, load your brush with a small amount of medium clear, Titanium White and a touch of Pthalo Blue until you’re satisfied with the color. I generally pull the fan brush toward me 3 or 4 times across the paint, flip it over and repeat the process. This gives me a nice chiseled edge.

Go to the top of the waterfall. You want to paint an upside down “L.” Hold the paint brush level so that the tips of the brush is against the canvas and draw a line from right to left. Make sure your paint brush bristles do not bend. If the brush bristles begin to bend it means you’re using too much pressure. Just relax your grip until the bristle s straighten and you’ll be find.

Pull the the paint brush straight across from right to left to where the waterfall drops. Then without stopping and using normal speed, simply go straight down the canvas without bending the bristles. Continue the stroke in one movement from the top of the waterfall to the bottom. Repeat this process to make the waterfall as wide as necessary.

The key is a small amount of medium clear and little pressure.