Thursday, October 21, 2010

Colors of a mountain lake???

Question: What colors do you mix for a mountain lake? Trying to watercolor a photo of a mountain lake in Yosemite. Angela

Susie's Reply: This question doesn't have a definitive answer. There are several color options and several factors to consider when painting still water as you would see in a mountain lake.
Unless the water is merky from algae or muddy from recent rains the water itself is grenerally clear and without much color. What influences the color of the water the most is the reflections of what is around it. Deep water is usually darker and more reflective than shallow water where you can see the bottom.
I know this answer may seem a little vague but without seeing your lake and what's around it I'm not sure what colors to suggest. I can tell you that I would use the same colors I used to paint the trees and mountains around the lake.
Another factor that influences the what we see in a reflection is the angle of incidence or the location of the eye of the viewer vs.
angle of reflection located on the surface of the water. If we are looking down into a lake what we see is quite different than what we see if we are standing closer to the water level on the shore of the lake.
In most cases the color of the water is a darker value than the local color of its surroundings.
I know this doesn't give you a "formula" to mix up before you paint the water but I hope you can look at the colors surrounding your lake and see what you might use to create an illusion that pleases you. Have fun! And don't get discouraged if you don't get it right the first time ....try painting another. Let me know how it goes....and don't hesitate to ask again if you need more specific input.
Keep those brushes wet!