Modern abstract paintings by Osnat Tzadok

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  • November 27, 2018
  • Osnat Tzadok

How to Paint Water Reflection

Nature has always been the most inspiring area for the artists. Trees, landscapes, wildlife and many other aspects of this section help the artists in finding motivation and in developing new ideas for their future projects. One of the most important parts of natural paintings is water. While it might seem simple, painting water is a bit more complex. If you can paint water with accuracy, you can create astonishingly beautiful artworks.

On the other hand, if your water doesn't look good enough, your artwork might seem dull or ruined. Knowing how to paint water reflections will help you in creating realistic artworks with better control and accuracy. You will be able to create a large variety of landscapes as it will broaden your skill set and you will have more options to choose from.

You should not worry much about learning water reflections. The following points will help you in understanding the basic concepts of this topic:

Follow the Rules

First basic rule you should follow is to leave out the details. If you will take a look at the water reflections in modern artworks, you will observe that the water reflections lack detailing. The hard edges are left out, which gives a more realistic look. Hard edges will make the reflection unrealistic and it might damage the appearance of the painting. It would be better to use smudges of colors to depict the objects in the water reflections.

You can choose to use color smudges in moving water (more on this below). The second thing to keep in mind is that water absorbs more light than air. Therefore, all the objects which appear light on the land, will look darker in the water. This is a major point as it can create a clear distinction between a good quality water reflection and a poor one. Light objects such as the sky and the clouds, will have darker reflections in the water bodies.

Choose the Kind of Water

There are different kinds of water reflections. You can have a completely water body in your artwork or water with a little movement. The water could also have considerable waves with distorted reflections. The different kinds of water will have a direct impact on the appearance and climate of your artwork.

Many artists choose to go with water bodies having little movement. Lakes and ponds work perfectly in this regard because they don't have numerous waves and a little movement can easily be depicted in the same. You will not have to rely on other objects if your water reflection shows a little movement. The movement could be because of wind or a moving object.

Try avoiding still water. That's because it gives a dull image and the water reflection is not detailed enough. On the other hand, water with more waves will be too repetitive so avoid that as well.


If you have any confusion regarding water reflections, feel free to get in touch with me. I would surely help you.

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