Initial watercolor under painting of mist and fog

The watercolor under painting is a key stage in creating the impression of mist and fog within a watercolor landscape painting.

Because I did not want all the colors to run down the page I set my watercolor easel at about 5 degrees instead of my normal 25 degrees.

Watercolor under painting

Under painting for rain, fog and mist with watercolor

Under painting rain, fog and mist with watercolor

I started my painting by mixing the main colors I would be using for the under painting stage. The sky was primarily a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna for the grey section. The greens were mixed with Cobalt Blue, Aureolin and a touch of Raw Umber. For the road I mainly used French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna.

The sky mixture was kept very light as in reality it was almost white.

For the soft trees in the distance I used a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna with a hint of Raw Umber. I made this mixture thicker than that used in the sky.

The first wash was the sky mix; I also painted in a weak mix of Cad Orange to hint at where the sun was within the mist. I brought the sky mix down to the top of the green area and let it sit there for about 30 seconds so it would stain the paper. While I was waiting I dropped in the soft distant tree shapes. I varied these mixtures so that some of the trees looked closer and others further away. The lighter tones appear further away as do the trees which are smaller.

Now I paint in the green mixture on both sides of the road way. As I had left the area above sit for a while to stain the watercolor paper underneath, when I painted the green in I still achieved the soft edges I was after while at the same time retaining the green area as a distinct shape. If I had not waited the 30 seconds or so, the sky color would have just flowed down into the green and the little green hillsides to either side of the road would not have been so noticeable.

Again I wait about 30 second before painting the roadway.

The roadway was painting with French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. I start painting the road from the foreground with strokes leading towards the distance, following the direction of the road. I only paint about two thirds of the road surface before I switch to a very weak mix (like Chinese tea) of the road color and then I paint with that from the distance towards the foreground so that I end up with a nice gradient of dark color in the foreground and very light in the distance. This is designed to add depth to the painting.

Once the shine has gone from the road surface, I use a barely damp brush to soak up the white lines on the roadway.

I let this all dry very thoroughly.

Continue to: Painting the middle distance trees and shrubs