How to Paint a Waterfall on Black Canvas

by Robin Reichert
Use black canvas to paint your breathtaking and colorful waterfall.

Use black canvas to paint your breathtaking and colorful waterfall.

Thomas Northcut/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A landscape painting with a waterfall painted on black canvas can possess a unique depth. The dark background provides a strong contrast that will allow even dark blue colors to show clearly on the canvas. The artist who paints on a black canvas will need to practice painting with a light touch to avoid smearing the paint. Use a variety of blue hues of paint and white to create the illusion of a cascading waterfall and mist.

Items you will need

  • Canvas
  • Black gesso
  • Artist's paints (oil or acrylic)
  • Fan brush
  • Flat horsehair brush
Step 1

Coat a plain canvas with black gesso and allow it to dry completely. Cover the entire canvas with a thin coat of dark blue paint, such as Prussian blue. Use a large, flat 1 1/4 inch or 1 1/2 inch horsehair brush to apply the dark blue paint.

Step 2

Place a generous amount of Titanium white and Pthalo blue on your pallet. Mix the blue and white paint using a small pallet knife or fold the colors together using a stiff bristle number three fan brush.

Step 3

Pick up some paint on the edge of the fan brush. Place the edge of your fan brush perpendicular to the canvas at the point where you want the top of your waterfall to begin. Keep the brush level and draw the brush straight across the canvas the width of your waterfall from right to left, about 3 to 4 inches.

Step 4

Pull the brush down toward the bottom of the canvas in a smooth, sweeping motion from the top of the waterfall. Use a light touch to keep the bristles touching the canvas but not bent. Put some more paint on the edge of the fan brush.

Step 5

Draw the bristles across the canvas from the beginning and draw the brush across the canvas until you reach the point where the waterfall drops from first brushstroke. Pull the paint across and down in a smooth motion toward the bottom of the canvas again to widen the water fall. Repeat this process until the waterfall is as wide as you like.

Step 6

Use the number three fan brush to lift paint up from the bottom of the waterfall to create the splash effect. Pull the paint upward until you have a series of U-shaped crescents across the bottom of the waterfall. Use the edge of a wide horsehair brush to soften the crescents across the bottom of the waterfall to create the misty spray at the bottom.

Tips & Warnings

  • Move the brush across the canvas and downward in an upside "L" shape in one smooth motion when painting a waterfall.
  • Allow the dark background of the canvas to show through behind the painted waterfall.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing when painting. Oil and acrylic paints are difficult to remove from clothing.

About the Author

Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Stockbyte/Getty Images