Painting Fog

I feel that one of the best subjects for a watercolorist to paint is fog. The seemingly flat masses in the landscape drift in and out of view and the effect is easily suggested with faint washes. I pay careful attention to the object’s silhouette shape and paint it with the best calligraphic strokes I can muster. The water vapor in fog filters out most of the color, and objects appear in faint values of blue-gray. This type of effect can be painted with just a few colors—my palette on a foggy day consists of cobalt blue, ivory black, cadmium orange and cadmium red.

When I paint fog I use a glazing technique. The suspended particles in the glaze enhance the foggy effect. I add a little gum arabic to my mixture, improving the atmospheric look. I progressively darken the elements of my picture as I paint from background to foreground. Elements that are near the viewer I make darker and more colorful. I further establish distance with a dark accent somewhere in the immediate foreground.

Lisa Wurster is an assistant editor for The Artist’s Magazine and Artist’s Sketchbook.

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