How to Paint Old Wood, Rust and Plaster in Watercolour

Skill Level : 1 Beginner

Medium : Watercolour Painting

Subject : General, Still Life

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 59 minutes

Avg Rating :

Silver Level or Higher Class

Class Description

Old wood and chipped plaster always adds character to buildings.

In this lesson you will learn:

1.  How to  render wood to look old
2.   How to paint realistic plaster (using a sponge)
3.   How to paint rust (chain and nail heads)
4.  How to paint the bricks

Latest Reviews

Wonderful techniques! Thank you so much!

Diane Allen

Class Tutorial


Transfer the template to the paper.  Darken up the pencil lines for the chain.  Add the spot of plaster over the bricks on the left.

Painting an undercoat

Mix a light blue and paint it lengthwise on your paper over the wood.  Dry it.

Adding masking fluid

Once your paper is thoroughly dry, apply masking tape over the chain.

Painting the old wood

Begin painting the wood with a layer of light orange, skipping spots in random places.  It will be the first in a series of glazes. Use the same technique to add the next darker orange layer.  Apply some burnt sienna in sort of a streaked fashion using the side of your brush to skim over areas that are darker in the reference photo.

Add some ultramarine blue to the burnt sienna to make a darker shade and apply it where appropriate.  Continue to darken as needed to create cracks, shadows, and other weathered features.  Paint the dark edge for the door, softening the edges where needed.

Create a grayish glaze and skim that over the left side of the wood, where needed.  Make another glaze with a darker gray and apply that, using the brush sideways to create a streaked effect.  Add some gray to the right side of the doorway.  Dry the painted wood.

Take a smaller brush and add in the details to the wood.  Keep your strokes random.  Use a dark paint to sink in the wood around the nails.  Darken areas where rust has affected the appearance of the wood.  Finish up by painting on some dark lines to create cracks in the wood, shadows under the chain, and a few worm holes.

Painting the chain

Use masking tape to remove the masking fluid.  Using a small brush and some burnt sienna (mid-tone), paint the chain.  Then, with a darker tone, use a smaller brush to create the rounding of the links by painting a dark shadow of the left side.  Use a blue-gray to add colour to the nails at the top of the chain.

Adding highlights on the wood

Use a clean wet brush to lift out some highlights where light is shining on the wood.

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Under painting the brick and plaster

Create a brick-like colour and paint a light glaze over the bricks, contouring around the plaster.

Using and ultramarine blue and burnt sienna mix, wash over the plaster.  Dry it.

Detailing the bricks and cement

Create a blue-gray mixture.  Dip a sponge into it and splotch it onto the plaster, randomly putting darker and lighter patches.  Dry it.  Use a brush to fill in areas along the edge where the sponge missed. Keep it light on the plaster edge at the bottom of the painting as that will show the sun's reflection and give depth to the plaster.

Mix some yellow ochre.  Glaze it over the plaster to create a brick-like effect.  Use the same technique for the orange-glazed panels.  Add a few cracks.  Dry it.

Add a shadow along the left side of the plaster and along the edge of the bricks.

Make a deeper brick-like colour and side-stroke it randomly over the bricks to add texture.  Darken as needed.  Then, mix and even darker brick colour and sponge it on with the same technique you used for the plaster.

Lastly, mix a gray mortar colour and paint between the bricks.  Dry it.  Use a narrow brush to add the shadows to the left and under the bricks to give a 3-D effect.  Dry it.

Adding highlights to the chain

Brush on a bit of water to lift out and dab off the paint from spots on the chain where the sun is hitting, creating reflective highlights.  Dry it.

Final painting

About Dennis Clark

Read more about Dennis Clark

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