How to Paint an Oil Painting Rain Scene

Written by leslie rose
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How to Paint an Oil Painting Rain Scene
Mix the colours on the canvas with grey in order to convey a sense of gloom. (Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

There are many ways to indicate that a scene is rainy. Not only should you actually paint rain on the canvas, but you must indicate the status of the weather by using the appropriate colours and by painting figures that are holding the appropriate accessories for rain. Some of these tasks are made simpler with oil paint, because it dries slowly and is thus easy to blend on the canvas. By blending and dribbling colours on the canvas, a feeling of wetness becomes obvious in the image, reinforcing the image of rain.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Oil paint
  • Turpentine
  • Paintbrushes (various sizes)
  • Canvas

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  1. 1

    Choose colours that are indicative of gloom. Cool colours like blue and neutral colours like grey are appropriate for this type of painting. Mix grey with almost all colours that you're applying to the painting, to build up the atmosphere of the piece.

  2. 2

    Paint the sky in a way that indicates the weather is appropriate for rain, with dark and heavy clouds. Oil paint is easy to blend because of its slow drying time, so painting dark, heavy clouds takes little effort. Lay down the paint on the canvas and then blend the colours together using a dry paintbrush. The bottoms of the clouds will be the darkest, and clouds will lighten near the top.

  3. 3

    Paint reflecting colours on surfaces that have puddles of rainwater, particularly on pavement. Reflections should have a liquid or runny appearance -- most reflections will appear in long uneven stripes down the canvas. Choose colours from elsewhere on the painting and dab them on the reflecting surfaces. You may use actual drips of paint thinned with turpentine to dribble down the canvas, to reinforce the runny quality of these reflections.

  4. 4

    Paint figures holding umbrellas or newspapers over their heads, hunching shoulders, keeping heads down and maybe running from the rain. Cars should be painted with wipers and headlights on.

  5. 5

    Paint rain on the canvas. Rain should be dispersed on the canvas in a way that is even and balanced, so no one quadrant of the painting has noticeably more rain than another quadrant. Use a small detail brush. The paint used for the rain should be heavily mixed with turpentine or a comparable paint thinner, in order to create a transparent paint that resembles rain water. Rain should be painted on the canvas using a small, fine point detail brush. This should be the last step, applied to the canvas after the rest of the scene has been painted and the paint is relatively dry.

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