Watercolor Training 5: Painting Smoke


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I have a little painting that needs a little life put in it because it's a little country scene of a home and a barn, a couple of outbuildings and the mountains where I live here. I'm not good at putting in people so how do I add life to it? One way is to have smoke coming out of the chimney. It's wintertime, and snowy, and a wisp of smoke rising out of the chimney would indicate that someone's there at that home warming themselves at the hearth. So let's put in a little smoke.

I have the painting far enough along now that we can put the smoke in the chimney. I've chosen this dark area in here. I have a french scrubber in my hand and I've dampened it just a little bit. By just barely touching the watercolor on the paper with the scrubber, then blot it with a tissue and see? It looks like smoke.

See how easy that is? When we get up higher we'll let it wisp off into nothing because that's exactly what it does. If we want to put the wisp on a light background, add a little bit of darker color, soften it a bit and pick it back up and that becomes our wisp of smoke.

Now we've put life in the painting!

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