How to Paint Wet Paint

Skill Level : 2 Intermediate

Medium : Acrylic Painting

Subject : Still Life

Tutor : Nolan Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 25 minutes

Avg Rating : No Ratings Yet

Class Description

In this class we will do a realism challenge by copying the photo as we see it.

During the class you will learn :

1) how to paint wet and dripping paint
2) How to paint the apple
3) How to glaze reflections
4) and much more…

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Short Class Video

Class Tutorial

Paint the Cast Shadow

apple cast shadow

I start off with Sap green and Paynes grey and work in the cast shadow.

This shadow is mostly subtle so you will see that I lay down paint, then lift most of it off again using a clean dry brush until I am happy with the shape of the shadow.

Paint the Apple Skin

painting the skin of the apple

For the apple I use Permanent green light, Sap green as well as Cadmium yellow light to form a basic shading.

The light is from the right hand side so the apple shades lighter towards the right.

As you can see I am not trying to get any detail into the apple yet.

I am rather just concentrating on getting the basic shape correct.

Add Reflections to the Apple Skin

paint a reflection onto the skin of the apple as well as the cast shadow

As the table is white, and the apple peel is reflective, the table will reflect in the peel.  I use titanium white and a dry brushing technique to add this.

In order to complete the apple I add the shadows cast by the dripping paint.

Notice how the paint already looks 3D and we haven't even started painting it yet.  That just shows you how important shadows are.

Mix the Red Paint Shades

colour mixes for apple with wet paint

The dripping paint is a lot more complex than the apple so we will spend more time on it.

I start by mixing 3 reds:

Cadmium red
Cadmium red plus Orange and
Cadmium red plus Alizarin crimson

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Block in the Red Paint Area

block in the red paint

I then block these colours in at the correct places. As I paint, I am ignoring the reflections in the paint as well as the fine detail, like the bubbles in the paint.

I just want to get the overall shape of the dripping paint correct at this point.

As a result you will see that I leave the central area empty initially as it is even brighter.

I add more orange to the highlight color and use that in the central highlight area.

With the basic shape of the point established you can dry the painting using a hairdryer.

Dry Brushing

This will allow you to use a dry brushing technique to work in the reflections.

Dry brushing is when you use a dry brush and tiny amounts of paint on the brush to paint super thin transparent layers of paint over existing paint.

Dry brushing works great for adjusting areas of color on your canvas as well as for reflections.

By adjusting the amount of paint on your brush you can show brighter and more subtle reflections without having to wash your brush.

How dry brushing differs from glazing is that with dry brushing, no medium is used so the paint is a as thick as it would be when used directly from the tube.

Dry Brush in the Reflections

the paint looks wet after dry brushing

There is no secret sauce for knowing where to add the reflections.

All it takes is careful observation to know where to add them and how much paint to use on your brush.

I always start with the brightest and most obvious reflections and then gradually look for the lighter and more subtle ones as that way I can get used to the covering power of the paint being used. This then allows me to adjust the amount of paint I need on the brush for each effect.

Add the Fine Detail

add the bubbles and drips

Once I am happy with the reflections, I will add the little bubbles into the paint. The bubbles are simply a highlight and shadow next to each other.

While I am busy with small details I will also add the loose drops of paint on the table. Block in each drop with a mid tone colour, then add a line from the highlight on the right and a line for the shadow on the left.

Paint the Stem

Lastly I add the stem using Cadmium yellow as a base and a few loose Raw umber strokes on the left to make it look round. With that our painting is complete:

completed apple painting with wet paint drops
Nolan Clark

About Nolan Clark

Nolan Clark has been painting and drawing since 1996. He enjoys working in many mediums and styles, but realism is his favourite. He teaches drawing, painting as well as scratch board classes on the site.
Read more about Nolan Clark

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