Demo 1: Reflecting on Water

Instructor: Daniel Green


The Manchester Canal changed the City of Manchester into a seaport more than 100 years ago. The canals and rivers that pass through the city today provide a unique landmark in the horizontal plane but can be a challenge to capture in a 2D sketch. Static or slowly moving water acts like a mirror, reflecting the environment, colors and buildings around it; sometimes distorting the scene or revealing unseen elements that cannot be seen from the artist’s point of view.

Demonstration Schedule

Daniel will begin with a value study using charcoal to capture shapes and values of buildings surrounding the canal and their reflected elements. Once complete, he will outline the major elements again in graphite and shift to watercolor washes focusing on color and light within the reflection using transparent pigments while being careful to preserve the white of the paper. He will narrate his process and provide suggestions on how to read the reflection and consider its parts. By considering the reflected scene in terms of tone and shape and not as an object, he believes the sketcher will have more success in achieving a realistic reflection without getting stuck on the distorted perspective.

The demonstration will be presented on full size watercolor sheets to allow the greatest number of participants to observe. The principles he will demonstrate can be applied to smaller, sketchbook scale graphics. Observers are encouraged to bring a stool.


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