The Process Behind 'Skin the Shine of the Rain' Part 2

If you missed Part 1, Click Here.

The main thing that springs to mind when I think about the painting process of 'Skin the Shine of the Rain' is that it took ages. This was all due to me injuring my right hand on another painting project. It's still not healed completely, but at least I'm able to paint for a reasonable time every day.

In the early stages of the painting, I could only use my right hand for about five minutes a day so I had to almost exclusively use my left hand. Ah, so you're ambidextrous, you may be thinking. Er, no. Many of my early attempts looked like they'd been done by a five-year old child. Who was extremely bad at painting. But as I slowed down, I was able to block in the main areas to a satisfactory degree, knowing full well that I would be able to touch them up at a later date with my right hand when it healed.

I will include my time-lapse videos later in this post so that you can see the painting process first hand, albeit sped up. But before I get to that I'd like to go through the main painting techniques I used:

  • Blending

  • Drybrushing

  • Spattering

  • Washing

Let's take a look at those one at a time:


This is probably the trickiest technique I used, especially with the acrylics that I paint with. They are pretty quick drying even with a retarding medium added. I used blending primarily on the sky. I started by painting in an area of one colour, let's say dark grey for example. Then I slightly modified that colour, making it into a marginally lighter grey. I then added an area of this colour next to the dark grey. Next I took a Filbert brush and moistened the bristles, wiping off any excess water. The brush should be just damp. This is the part that takes practise and experience to get it just right. The brush is then used to blend the two areas of paint together at the edge, producing a smooth transition. And this all has to be done before the paint dries. Maybe I will have to try oil paints at some point which have a longer drying time...


I used drybrushing to add texture to the road and parts of the rubble. I use an old brush - it won't be fit for anything else after a good drybrushing session - and make sure it is bone dry. I start by dipping the brush into undiluted paint. The next and most important stage was to wipe off all of the paint on to a rag or piece of kitchen paper. You may be thinking what's the point of putting paint on your brush and then wiping it all off? The beauty of this technique is that when the dry brush is dragged across the surface of the painting it leaves behind a fine dusting of paint. It works particularly well if the underlying area has been painted with thickly textured paint. The drybrushing will pick out the raised areas. It's a great technique for adding fine detail and texture with minimal effort.

I also used a variation of drybrushing for the road texture where I used a large brush and didn't wipe off much of the paint. This created an effect somewhere between normal painting and the full drybrush technique.


And the same goes for spattering. I used it for general texture, the spray of the rain hitting objects and for dust coming from the thrown rubble. The general idea is to put paint on an old brush, or I use a toothbrush for this purpose, and then flick the paint on to the canvas by dragging the forefinger backwards across the bristles. Be careful with this technique because the consistency of paint will produce very different results. Thick paint will create a very subtle effect of tiny dots. Adding a little water will increase the size and range of the spots of paint and adding yet more will increase the effect dramatically. Be warned: try this on a spare piece of paper before you do it on your main painting.


I use washes extensively in all of my paintings. But before I get to that, let me digress for a moment and talk about music production. Imagine a repetitious bleepy techno sound. After a while your ear will get tired of hearing it. The idea is to gradually change the sound over time, through the use of filters, tone and effects. All of these changes may be subtle, yet they help the sound to stay interesting. The same is true of areas in paintings. Especially large areas. A flat colour will quickly bore the eyes. And this is why I use thin, subtle washes. They allow me to slightly change colours and keep the interest of the eye. I would be very surprised if there was one area of this painting that didn't have a wash on it (well, maybe pure white is the exception, but you get the idea.)

An extension of the wash technique was used on the road. First, I brushed over the whole area with pure water. Then I added a variety of different coloured washes using my reference photo as a guide. The final touch was to sprinkle salt on to the top. As the wash dries, the salt sucks up some of the paint and leaves an interesting texture. Again, it's something to try on a scrap piece of paper first.

You'll see all of the above in the time-lapse videos below, including a commentary by yours truly, where I witter on about how I created this painting.

If you have any questions about the painting process please leave a comment below.

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