Water Reflections Impressionist Painting

river water reflections, photograph, debiriley.com

Water reflections: a source photo and a painting in a soft and soothing impressionist approach. Comparing the reference photo and the painting created, there are quite a few obvious differences. Colors, Tones, Details!

water reflections, acrylic painting, debiriley.com
Impressionist Painting Reflections

A small rivulet in New South Wales, Australia.  Page’s River served as my inspiration for more than a dozen photos in the charming town of Murrurrundi, just south of Tamworth.


The photo is quite clearly more intense yellow green and a near black blue, with distinctive tree branches and foliage seen in the water.

Whereas, to obtain a more Impressionist look… some alterations were needed.

river water reflections, photograph, debiriley.com
Pages River Reflections photo


Water Reflections


Colors Used for Water Reflection Painting

I used a limited palette.  This was to help me achieve a zen like harmony.

Naples Yellow and Prussian Blue in acrylics.

I like Naples Yellow, and felt it would sit in the painting much better than a bright and loud yellow green would.

Prussian blue is my ‘go to’  blue,   its perfect for this type of subject.  It provides a full range of tone from the palest blush of baby blue to to a near black – blue.

By limiting my palette so dramatically,  I help myself achieve better tone throughout the painting.  I avoid mud.  I create harmony, unification…. that would not exist if I’d used 8 zillion colors.

I like to make things easier for myself.




Techniques Used To Enhance Impressionist Vibe

The beginning was a gelli plate print with the two colors softly merging. And while still ‘hot off the press’ and wet,  I worked into the painting to fine tune the areas I wanted just a little more focus on.

There was some skewers being used in this as well, I drew into the damp acrylic paint in some areas to define a few trees.



Impressionist –  Not a Photo Replica

Even though I’d singled out a reference source, my goal was to create an impression of the subject.

I simply wanted to try to convey a feeling, a mood….. a sense of coolness and water.

Basically to elicit emotion,   rather than record the exact latitude and longitude of the geographical location.




This Image is slightly,  underdone.

Perhaps, to finish this piece I could think about……

cropping the sides in just a little  and then add white into the main focus tree trunk, ever so judiciously and lightly.




Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at society6.com/debiriley and, redbubble.com/people/debijriley/shop

52 thoughts on “Water Reflections Impressionist Painting

    1. hi Jodi, thank you! Glad you liked them!! with 800 photos, I’ll being featuring a ‘few’ Sydney and New South Wales area landscapes for a while…lol

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Laura! I couldn’t decide which to image to post… the photo. or the painting. so, I did both. Thinking someone…. YOU, might ask – what might have been my thought process behind it. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love how you filtered out the basics from the photo and applied it to the painting. Wonderful skills, actually amazing skills! Your paintings always speak to my senses each and every time. You’re a true artist who knows how to make us feel what we see! Lovely, delightful and most beautiful indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eva, that is so generous and thoughtful a comment; it really made me smile!! I’m pleased that you enjoyed this and ‘got it’ – its difficult to explain to others about the feeling aspect being more important. Thanks Eva 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. no worries!
        I liked both, just for different reasons. Which is one reason they both were included. Thank you, David 🙂
        Cheers – Debi


  2. Love the reflection affect on the water you achieved! I just ordered these 2 acrylic paint colors. I like that you limited your palette and didn’t overwork it. I hadn’t thought to play with the paint while it was still wet after printing it with the gelli plate. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many kind thank you’s SmileCalm! loved your website, gorgeous photos and posts! liked the Hopi elder post, and the snow,… 🙂 Cheers, Debi


      1. humble thanks for your kind words and views, Debi!
        while my blog posts no more than once weekly
        i look forward to viewing your creativity, david 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hi David, you’re welcome! I think you have a great idea with posts of once a week – sounds lovely, not too busy. Just about right!


  3. Beautiful interpretation. I love the softness and blurriness of impressionism. It can’t help but be infused with feeling. I look forward to all your posts – each and every one a visual treat! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you tried mixing acrylics with pva glue and creating a print on a glass plate? I’ll dig out an example ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi Nexi, thanks for sharing that link and will check it out to see the glue aspect and how that works. Thank You!! cheers, Debi


  5. The warm Naples yellow is perfect. There is a mysterious quality about this painting. The way you have overlapped your tones of blue has me seeing faint images that I’m not sure of. Your depth pulls me into the painting. There is so much to take in I will be viewing your painting for sometime. Thank you Debi.

    Liked by 1 person

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