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How to Paint Fog or Fog in a Landscape Painting

Painting mist or mist turns an ordinary scene into something special or specific. For example, fog may indicate that it is morning before the sun has dispelled the fog, or it may indicate distance. Fog can add mystery, suspense, or even tranquility to paintings.

You must decide in advance whether you want the entire scene to contain fog or just distant mountains and valleys. A scene that is completely blurred will have little detail in the background because, just like on a foggy day, visibility is limited. Look at other paintings and nature and see what you see.

Let’s say the whole scene will blur. Most likely you will use dull or muted colors and paint on the background, again use small details. A dry brush technique with circular strokes produces a pleasant hazy effect. Use a little more detail in the middle and more in the foreground. When you finish painting, you can use a very, very fine white (watercolor consistency) and go over all the paint layer by layer until you achieve the effect you want.

If the effect you’re looking for is fog or mist at the base of mountains or trees, then that’s pretty easy too. I paint with acrylics and they dry quickly so this technique works well. Once the mountains or trees are dry, apply a dry brush with white from the bottom up. Remember that the mist is very transparent, so you need to use a small amount of paint on a dry brush. Start at the base, use circular motions, and work your way up until the mist blends in. Do the same with mountains or water scenes.

I would suggest practicing these techniques before trying to apply them to a finished painting. If you don’t feel comfortable, the last thing you want to do is ruin your job. Remember, fog and mist are pretty simple techniques that add tons of character to the art.

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