Textured Finishes in Watercolour:Rust


A while back now, I touched on the subject of accurately representing texture in watercolour. The particular texture that I mentioned was rust, and the patina of aged metal

The little study above, I did some time ago, and I followed an instruction from a reference book called  “Painting Country Gardens in watercolour, pen and ink “. This was written by Claudia Nice. This little painting was done in watercolour only, so no ink was used. I have had this book for some time now, and have found several of the techniques in it to be very useful indeed.

The rusty barrow does look very convincing, and is achieved through a straightforward glazing exercise. That is to say, one coat on top of another that has been allowed to dry rock hard. This is how she tells us to do it, with the following wash glazes in this order.

  1. Burnt Sienna (base coat)
  2. Cadmium Orange
  3. Either red muted with green or red violet muted with yellow green. I seem to remember using the first one
  4. Final glaze of Violet with Payne’s Grey

I must repeat that it is imperative that you allow each coat to dry rock hard. I usually leave each coat to dry overnight as I prefer natural drying. Some people speed the operation up with a hairdryer which is fine, unless the paper has cockled, in which case it won’t dry flat

With a damp brush, and there are specialist brushes on the market for this, but if you don’t have one, no worries as one of your detail brushes will do fine, just lift out highlights or sheen areas. If you are careful you can also use razor scrape on very dry paint, of course. Next image is a close up to give you a better idea


Not done as well as the Claudia Nice version but I hope that gives you some idea

Her picture had the barrow full of flowers, hence the garden theme. I was only interested in the metal finish at the time

I hope you find that helpful. Every now and then, I stress that I am not an art teacher, just a painter whom you can follow if you want


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