I'd love to show you the process of how I painted an epic waterfall scene of The Kimberley in Western Australia. Due to the length of my article, I've cut it into 4 parts and we are finally on the last part.
You can check out Part 1,2 and 3 by checking out
Let's get into it!
I had an opportunity here with this painting that would allow for the waterfalls to take on more character and force, and simultaneously allow the perspective and depth to be enhanced. There is a churning cloudy mist that is formed at the waterfalls base that completely obscures elements behind it. So, with this scenario I had the perfect opportunity to apply a glaze (thin paint pigment dissolved in medium, translucent in nature). Here is one of the waterfalls before applying the glaze. I was still using colour, in solid brushstrokes to indicate some of the atmosphere provided by a churning, raging waterfall.
After the glaze is applied it appears that the mist hangs in the air and drifts upwards. I am careful to apply this technique to a completely dry painting otherwise I may lift the underlying layer. I can also push this glaze around and selectively remove. With Liquin as the carrier of the pigment I have about 2 hours before I become stuck with the technique for good. Now that the glaze is in, the painting has taken on another dimension of life.
The Final Details
The little details across the paintings surface are left for the very end. Once every zone has been modeled, I can see where the slight adjustments and additions need to fall. I think in this painting the two most important zones for detail will be the water in the foreground and the cliffs, however, I must fight the temptation to detail it in a uniform fashion. Detail can be overdone. I find that by saying very little and saying it well is far more effective than saying too much.
I go back to my central cliff and focus on the edges of rocks. In some places they could use sharpening. Shadows are deepened with a fine pointed synthetic brush. There is a corresponding highlight with the shadow. Whilst some of this was in place from the previous modelling phase, I am sure to emphasize it in places.
The water already has an established surface pattern, however it needs a little more. With such raging waterfalls surely there would be some kind of accumulation of foam? In this location, there are these long and sweeping arms of foam and debris reaching out into the river from the base of the waterfalls
On a dry water surface, I add this final detail, with a bristle brush, Titanium White, Yellow Oxide, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine blue are the main elements that comprise the foam. Here too, is a perfect opportunity to enhance the perspective of the scene and allow for more depth. The pattern extends downwards from the bottom of the falls, and as it does the linear fashion of the foam gives way to a much more extreme sweeping arcs curls. As the foam has some physical body, it will catch a highlight or two in places. This communicates that the foam is a three-dimensional form and can help communicate exactly what the surface of the water is doing.
These little adjustments and details are what make a painting for me. I try to enhance the materials I am trying to communicate in this phase. It all adds together to form the convincing sense of reality I am trying to convey. Whist it is possible to go overboard with these details, I continuously stand back several feet away from the canvas and check my progress.
This painting of King George falls is my biggest painting to date. Several challenges arose throughout the long hours inn the studio. Each challenge resulted in more thinking and planning. Overall I am pleased with the final result.
However, now that it is finished there are areas that still get at me. Even after all of this time in the studio I find that there is rarely a painting that I turn loose of that couldn’t use a little extra work. I must admit, it’s tough turning loose of paintings after the deadline has passed. Whilst I try to put everything in that I can, the benefit of hindsight allows you to see these details clearly. Possible Changes and improvements become apparent, sometimes glaringly obvious. Given the chance I would hold onto it for another 2 years and keep painting. Perhaps I would get less done if I were to adopt such a work habit. Nevermind, I’ll fix it on the next one!
To see more works by Andrew Tischler please visit www.andrewtischler.com
Thank you for reading, see you soon.