Here's the latest update to our Civil War display base/diorama. The river bed had already been carved so now all we're doing is painting it and putting a gloss coating. At first I was thinking about detailing the living heck out of this but then decided to go the simple route with a fairly nondescript paint job:
I brushed some tan paint out from the bottom of the river bank into the stream for about an inch or so.
Then I painted a sky blue paint on the river bed, coming close to but not all the up to, the river bank. I must say that I didn't clean up the river bed much, just giving it a quick dusting. Any remaining scenery material was left in place. One reason was that this wasn't necessarily a deep river and one would be able to see the textured bottom surface. The other reason though is it's a home-grown project for our own enjoyment - not a museum piece. The 'Good Enough' philosophy takes over at this point.
Next I dabbed the brush, which still has a little blue paint on it, into the tan.
After daubing most of the wet paint off, using the nearly dry brush I patted and feathered the colors together where they meet.
The troops are on the march and anxious to cross
Using a gloss medium and varnish (gesso works the same) I painted over the river bed.
This stuff is thick and gooey. You can lay it down flat or easily build up waves and ripples.
It dries fairly quickly allowing for multiple coats in a short amount of time. I put down two coats - good enough.