Make it Rain … in Watercolor
The initial idea of the watercolor painting below came to my mind when I was caught at the bus station waiting until a heavy rain was over.
As I was sitting there, I took several photos on my phone. In the compilation of the images (below), you can see how different all the pictures turned out.
The rainshower lasted for no longer than five to seven minutes, but the intensity seemed to change significantly in just a few seconds. The surrounding light varied substantially as well.
As the rain got stronger, the light would practically dim with almost red/brown hues, which you can see in the top right picture. When the rain stopped, white clouds appeared in the sky above the shiny, reflective surface of the ground. These pictures were taken later in the evening, around 7 p.m.
From Reference Photos to Watercolor Painting
When I got back home I had a strong desire to incorporate the best elements from every photo I took into the painting — along with other specific details imprinted in memory, including:
- A flat pale sky typical during a heavy rain
- Warm red and brown hues
- Brown dirty flooding on the asphalt road
- Bubbles on puddles caused by raindrops
- Bright reflection in the middle part of the intersection
- Figures jumping over puddles
- A Fading background perspective
Looking at my photos I drew two graphite studies:
After completing both studies, I decided to use the second one as my guide to correctly distribute whites and darks in the final watercolor painting.
Paint Rain The Easy Way | The Scratch Method
When the painting was nearly complete and dry, I used a knife to scratch vertical dot lines into the paint on the surface; this process helps to create a stronger effect of raindrops.
And there you have it, a quick and easy way to paint rain, or really scratch in the rain, when working with watercolor.
Article by Vladimir Tuporshin
Want More Rain-Inspired Watercolor Techniques?
Learn how to paint a rainy, nighttime cityscape in watercolor from start to finish in Paul Jackson’s Watercolor Workshop: Nighttime in the City. Along the way, accomplished watercolor artist Paul Jackson will share watercolor techniques for painting lights, reflections and moving figures.
Check out the preview trailer for this video workshop below. And, if you want to start learning how to paint this stunning cityscape scene right away, you can stream the demonstration here. Enjoy!