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Fun Lake Scene Teaches Watercolor Techniques For Water & Reflections

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Step 7: Painting A Lake Bank With The “Lost And Found” Technique

boat-on-reflective-lake-step-7

Next is painting the bank. With the size 6 or 8 round sable brush, mix Hooker’s Green with Burnt Sienna to get an earthy green tone, then paint in a small grassy bank that connects with the left edge of the water. Since it’s a similar color to the green in the forest, the bank may look a little “lost”. To “find” it again, mix a muddy brown color using Ultramarine Deep, Alizarin Crimson, and Burnt Sienna, then drop this color in the underside of the bank while the previous layer is still wet. You can also use pure Lemon Yellow for highlights along the top of the bank. Steve calls this the “lost and found” technique, which is useful for gauging what objects should be at what distance within the painting, because even if there are similar-colored objects, their value (i.e. how light or dark something is) and saturation (i.e. how intense a color is) depends on how distant they are.

When you’re done with the left side, move to the right and paint in that section’s base layer with the same earthy green color. Avoiding the edges of the pole and rope in the foreground will also add to your “found” effect. Keep lighting and distance in mind as you add the yellow highlights. Afterwards, mix in some Ultramarine Deep with your previous earthy green paint to get a darker version, then apply this to the middle and underside of the bank for a mid- to dark-tone color. Use the same muddy brown color for the darkest areas, adding more Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Sienna for more contrast. Add in more Sap or Hooker’s Green to the shadows if the color gets too dark. This is necessary as the right side of the lake extends from the background to the front, and thus will need more details as you move to the foreground. Keep using the variegated wash technique for the banks, and always look to paint the way they’re shaped while paying attention to how their edges interact with the surrounding elements.