How to Paint Dew Drops

Written by noelle carver
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How to Paint Dew Drops
Dew drops make rich painting subjects because of the light reflections. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Water reflects light and changes shape, which often makes rendering it difficult in painting. When beginning a painting of a dew drop -- or adding a drop to an almost-finished flower bloom -- note the colours in the object as well as the colours nearby. In a sunny scene, a dew drop shows the colours of surrounding objects in its plump, watery form.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Image or object with dew drop
  • Paper or canvas
  • Oil or acrylic paint
  • Transparent extender gel
  • Flat-edged paintbrush
  • Detail paintbrushes

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  1. 1

    Study the shape of the kind of dew drop you want to paint. Inspect how the dew drop rests and fits on your object of choice. If you are painting a dew drop on a tulip, study how a dew drop or drop of water rests on a tulip cup. Falling water follows the contour of the object it lies on and grows fatter and rounder toward the lowest portion of the object.

  2. 2

    Lightly draw an oval on the paper or canvas. Make the oval as large or small as you want the widest part of the dew drop to be.

  3. 3

    Determine the light source's direction. Decide whether the sunlight you depict -- and the shading -- comes from the left or right, above or underneath.

  4. 4

    Sketch a small crescent shape just inside the oval, showing the light source highlight. If you do not want such an apparent light source and want more shading instead, you will later shade the dew drop to depict the source of light.

  5. 5

    Start painting the shadow. Select the same colour you used for the object on which the dew drop is resting -- such as a rose or fence post. Make a transparent brushstroke using an extender paint, a quick-drying oil-paint extender gel.

  6. 6

    Paint a narrow shadow sliver on one side of the oval opposite the light source. Make the shadow about 1/3 the size of the drop. If you want use black paint or mix a dark colour in acrylics or oils, paint the shadow with the soft edge of a shader brush or a regular brush.

  7. 7

    Paint the inside of the dew drop. Use gradation. Start at the top of the oval. Lay the brush lightly and flat on the canvas.

  8. 8

    Stroke thicker paint down the oval, then use a light brushstroke. Add lighter colours such as yellow, white or a lighter shade of the colour you are using to show the light there. You want the inside to stay lighter than the cast shadow.

  9. 9

    Let each layer dry after each step. With oils, repeat layers and details such as the light-source highlight as needed. Avoid a dull look by not overly revising and repainting.

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