Wood Stork and Water Lilies Painting Trees And A Lake

Painting a gradient using a liner, a 24 inch steel rule and gouache paint.
Painting a gradient using a liner, a 24 inch steel rule and gouache paint.

Wood Stork and Waterlilies Painting Trees And A Lake – Here is where we apply base coats of gouache paint for the lake and the tree bark. Generally I like to paint from the darkest color to the lightest color. For me, painting that way is preferable because the gradients are easier to paint with less brush strokes being visible. For the the lake, I put a base coat of gouache Windsor & Newton Jet Black and also in the large cypress tree in the foreground. I’m putting the Jet Black only on the tree in the foreground so the other trees will appear “off in the distance”. Adding more white and whatever color your sky is will push elements in your painting off into the distance. Whereas darker or brighter colors will bring elements forward.

Painting a Gradient

A closeup of the reflection on the water.
A closeup of the reflection on the water.

We want to add a reflection of the blue sky to the lake. Since we are painting on the pre existing coat of Jet Black, using a large brush like an oval or flat wash and lots of wet paint would cause that Jet Black to mix into our the blue. That would cause undesirable results in painting the reflection of the sky. Therefore we are going to use a liner brush instead of using an oval or flat wash brush. I will mix the various colors of blue on my glass palette from the darkest color to the lightest.

Using A Bridge To Paint Straight Lines

Painting a Gradient - Another view of painting a gradient using a liner, a 24 inch steel rule and gouache paint.
Painting a Gradient – Different view of painting a gradient using a liner, a 24 inch steel rule and gouache paint.

Using a steel rule or a “bridge”, I paint the thin horizontal lines until the paint in the bristles are used up. As the paint in the bristles gets low, the paint as it appears on the paper becomes less opaque creating a gradient. From there I move on to the next color going from dark to light with the darkest color being slightly lighter than pure Jet Black and the lightest color being almost as bright as the sky. Because the brush strokes are thin, they dry fast and easily create a smooth “gradient look” without giving you a “brush stroke” look.

Robert Simmons E51 Liner Brushes

From this view you can see the unique shape of the handles that the E51 series liners have.
From this view you can see the unique shape of the handles that the E51 series liners have.

As this is the first time using this brand of liners, I wanted to bring special attention to them because of how well they perform. Because I love to paint with liners (most watercolor, gouache and acrylic painters don’t like them), I’m always on the look out for a good quality liner. I found that the Robert Simmons Expression Liner (E51 Series) may be the best series of liners I’ve ever used. It is a soft synthetic bristle brush. According to the Dick Blick website, “The brush hair is hand-shaped, then tied, glued, and hand-crimped into seamless, 22-karat gold-plated ferrules. Every beech wood handle receives five coats of matte, stain-resistant turquoise lacquer.

Liner Brushes With A Thick Handle

A closeup of the #2 Robert Simmons E51 Expression Liner.
A closeup of the #2 Robert Simmons E51 Expression Liner.

Additionally, the E51 liners are generously sized and perfectly balanced. The thick handles alleviate hand and finger fatigue during long painting sessions”. Unlike most liners whose handles are reed thin, the Robert Simmons Expression liner has a thick handle which is good in for gripping. From personal experience, gripping super thin liner handles over 20 years will give you carpal tunnel syndrome. The handles on the Robert Simmons E51 Series Expression liner saves your hand from that sort of nerve damage. The Robert Simmons E51 series offers six different sizes and thicknesses to choose from. If you like to paint with liner brushes, go get some.

A base coat of Windsor & Newton Jet Black paint has been applied for the water.
Before Painting a Gradient – a base coat of Windsor & Newton Jet Black paint has been applied for the water.
Painting a Gradient - Brown, tan and yellows have been painted as a base coat for the tree bark.
Brown, tan and yellows have been painted as a base coat for the tree bark.
My glass palette of blue sky reflection colors.
Painting a Gradient – My glass palette of blue sky reflection colors.
Painting a Gradient - The finished reflection of blue sky on the lake all done with Robert Simmons E51 Expression liners.
Painting a Gradient – The finished reflection of blue sky on the lake all done with Robert Simmons E51 Expression liners.
A closeup of the #0 Robert Simmons E51 Expression Liner.
A closeup of the #0 Robert Simmons E51 Expression Liner.
Another view of the closeup of the reflection on the water.
Another view of the closeup of the reflection on the water.