Saturday, February 15, 2014


Lou from Australia asked me to follow up on my Painting Clouds video with a video on reflections. Maybe in the future, but for now you'll have to make do with this blog post. Sorry Lou...

After the Storm
90 x 120 cm, oil on panel

Sometimes, when the tide is low and there is little wind, a film of water is left on the sand. A perfect mirror for passing clouds. There are a few groundrules. First, reflections are always a tad darker than the stuff they reflect and second, they have less contrast. No sharp edges and hardly any detail. Perhaps that is why painting reflections is a lot easier than painting clouds.

In 'After The Storm' I did the beach first. So, no reflections in the underpainting, just sand, including the details in the lower right corner. When this ground layer was dry I painted the reflections on top of it in a transparent layer, wet on wet.  I applied the paint with a wide brush and blurred the shapes with my badger hair fan brush. I used Talens Transparent White as a starting point for mixing the greyish colors. Because of the transparency of this layer, you sort of 'feel' the sand underneath it.

As you can see the blue of the sky has turned into a much less saturated color, that gets darker close to the bottom edge of the painting. It repeats the smooth transition in the sky from a light to a darker blue, but in a grey tone. But remember: never use black to make your greys, start with a real color and then break it. In my Painting Clouds video you can learn all about how to make a colored grey.

Next time I'll share what I know about reflections in moving water. Hope it doesn't get to technical. Let me know!


  1. This is an amazing piece Janhendrik!! Thank you for posting it.

  2. Thanks, Marc! I combined a number of pictures to a new image. If you want to see how I did that:

  3. Prachtig schilderij. Ik had het al gezien op jouw site. En nu de uitleg erbij van de reflecties. Deze zijn voor mij een perfect houvast voor het uitproberen .

  4. Mooi dat je iets aan de uitleg hebt, Peter. Ben erg benieuwd naar je experimenten!