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One day I will tote up my painting lessons and number them in order chronologically, like, and index them and package them in a neat little mini-blog.

And, one day, pigs will fly.

A new reader asked me how I did the rain in my April chapter of When Wanderers Cease to Roam:

There are two kinds of rain on this page, which I painted while looking out the window in my work room. Fat slow rain:

and slashing wind-driven rain:

Today I looked out the window and I saw a hard, drenching rain.

It would have been nice if I’d taken a reference photo to show you. Sorry:  one day, I will remember such things and will present all my painting lessons in a coherent, scholarly fashion.

And, one day, pork will grow on trees.

But I made a quick line drawing of the shape of the big drips that were streaking down my window:

This is the reference “map” I will use as I paint my ran today.

First, I get all my Grumbacher 24-pan paints together — I’ll be using mostly greens and blues today.

And then I’ll get out my bottle of masking fluid, and I’ll out-smart any how-to book or artist know-it-all who tells me to use a paint brush with this masking fluid. Instead, I’ll take my trusty toothpick and dip it in the masking fluid and I will “paint” the shapes that I drew (above) when I did my line drawing of the fat streaks of rain that were dripping down my window:

When I have those shapes “painted” in and have let them dry, I’ll do a quick wash for my background:

Don’t want to forget to put in some distant trees:

I’ll let that dry thouroughly, and then I’ll remove the masking fluid by rubbing it off with a new eraser I got last week. I first went to Michael’s (a nation-wide chain of art supply stores) to get some new erasers, but it seems that if you aren’t into fake flower arrangments or buying a ton of shitty decals and rivets and stickers and background shit for “scrapbooking”, you have no business wandering the aisles of Michael’s.

Luckily, Staples was right next door and they had these nifty German erasers.

(I forgot to put in my trusty tea bag for scale when I started to paint, so here it is now. This rain sketch is about 2 1/2 inches wide. As you may or may not know, all the art work in When Wanderers Cease to Roam is reproduced in their actual original size, so I’m quite used to working small.)

So here’s what the negative space of the fat rain drips looks like before I paint them in:

I’ve been looking closely at rain drips, and they are kind of bluey-black along the sides, reflecting the drizzly sky, I suppose. Or the mood fo the day. Who knows?

So I’ll mix a few shades of blue with some watery black and I’ll test the color before I commit it to my rain drips:

Looks about right:

Let the piece dry thoroughly.

Now here’s where I tell you all my most brilliant rain-painting secret:

Get a clean cup of water.

Load up your brush with clear water, and stroke it over the previously-painted surface in and up-and-down motion. The water will pick up the dry watercolor, leaving a streaky effect:

Repeat at irregular intervals throughout the painting:

And if, at the end, it looks as if you’ve left your watercolor out in the rain, you have succeeded.

Next Monday I’ll be back here in person, with stories about my Great Pacific Great Northwest Book Tour. I will have taken my own excellent travel tips and have looked at maps, hugged Pacific Northwest trees, watched at least one sun set, found the best all-night diner in town and had a grilled cheese snadwich at 2AM, and watched the sun rise.

I will have some profound, illuminating, and philosophical things to tell you all about life, art, and Stumptown.

Because I am deep.

As astra per alia porci.

To the stars on the wings of a pig.

5 comments to Rain Day! Painting Lesson 4 or 5

  • Deborah

    Your description of Michael’s made me laugh. Although I live in a fairly small town (35,000), we have an actual art store (as well as a Ben Franklin Crafts). We have to go to the next town over for Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s. Lotsa scrapbookers here.

  • Susie

    Woohoo!!!! Rain Lessons, YESSSSS!

    Thank you so much….for both the belly laugh on your Michael’s description and especially your “Rain” tutorial.

    Thank you for all the photos, step by step for ‘duh me’ types. Meaning me. “A HA! So THAT’S how Vivian does it!”
    And for mentioning your brand of paints and sharing your secret painting tips, I love it all.
    Also, a small thing maybe, but for my anal personality I’m glad you showed the bottle of masking fluid, too. And the teabag. Just everything here.

    You take such kind, good care of your readers.

    Looking forward to your safe return…

  • Nadine

    Don’t your eyes hurt from looking at such a small canvas?

  • I am LOVING these painting demos!!! Thanks! Just when I really needed some inspiration.

  • Loved your lesson!! NOw I have to get out my paints and try again. You are the best, Vivian……

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