Atmospheric Painting: Top Tips
Do you avoid using wet-in-wet techniques? Make sure you read on, as you won’t create loose, atmospheric scenes without this essential skill.
I was hopeless at using them in the beginning. I’d see artists demonstrate painting soft shadows or distant trees/mountains effortlessly… But when I tried, I just made a mess, colors running everywhere
Here’s the secret: timing.
If you’ve just applied a wash, and the paper is completely wet, any additional paint applied will spread and form larger shapes with soft edges. This is good for large clouds. You can even lift out the paint with a large brush/tissue to create shapes.
If you wait for a little, you’ll notice the water start to evaporate and the paper takes on a lighter sheen. At that moment, you can drop in a THICKER concentration of paint to create distant mountains, dark shadows, etc. The paint should spread but not uncontrollably. Enough to imply things that don’t require fine detail. But remember, if you have too much water on your brush, it’ll make a mess and lots of blooms.
Here’s an exercise that will help you: draw 3 small rectangles on a sheet of paper and apply clean water to each rectangle. Then, add some paint in to each rectangle at different times (i.e. immediately, after 1 min, or 3 mins).
Make sure you use a cloth or paper towel at all times to control the amount of water on your brush. Continually check and ask yourself if it’s the right consistency BEFORE you put that brush to paper.
Being aware of the above and experimenting/practicing has helped me immensely. I’m still learning. Wet-in-wet technique is a game changer, and also can help you paint 2-3x faster.
But reading this isn’t going to produce any miracles on your end.