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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > September 19 > How to paint lakes and rivers

How to paint lakes and rivers

Water is a perennially fascinating subject – Amanda Hyatt shares her top ten tips for painting rivers and lakes in watercolour, and demonstrates a painting of a river close to her home
Lake Como, watercolour, 211⁄4x291⁄4in (54x74cm)

There is nothing more beautiful than a body of water. As a matter of interest, 71 per cent of the earth is covered in water, about 97 per cent of which is saline. Of the remaining three per cent, only one per cent is in lakes and rivers – maybe that’s why we value these so much.

The beauty and attraction of fresh water, or any water for that matter, is that the light of the sky is reflected from it and bounced back to the viewer. The additional fascination of a still body of water is the mystery of what lies below the surface and this intrigue causes the viewer to stare at it, mesmerised. The light reflected can be morning or evening light, a sunset or sunrise, overcast or misty light. The fascination with painting a body of water is in trying to capture this magic light and the consequential reflections, colour, movement or stillness, its breadth or intimacy, its warmth or coldness and its wetness!

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About The Artist

Welcome to our September issue, packed with inspiration, demonstrations and practical advice for all artists, covering all your favourite media. Our artist-contributors show you how to paint sunlight and shadows in watercolour, capture the effects of sparkling light on water in acrylics, create a balanced composition, while Amanda Hyatt shares her top ten tips for painting rivers and lakes in watercolour. There are also demonstrations on how to paint buildings, capture the texture of fur when painting animals, how to create a simple but dramatic linocut and showing why oils are great for developing still-life compositions in the studio. Seasoned exhibitor Nicholas Poullis offers advice on how to give yourself the best chance of selling your work, Steve Hall urges you to step out of your comfort zone and try a new medium and Haidee-Jo Summers encourages you to take up the #DrawingAugust challenge. Share your sketches with us, too, to win a prize and see your work published in The Artist. There's plenty more too, including the latest news, views, competitions to enter and our test report on the new Winsor & Newton Cadmium-Free watercolours.