Creating Texture and Effects With Spattering | Ron Mulvey✏️ | Skillshare

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Creating Texture and Effects With Spattering

teacher avatar Ron Mulvey✏️, Artist / Art Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Open Up Your Creativity With Spattering


    • 2.

      Spattering Set Up


    • 3.

      Spattering; 3 Quick Tips


    • 4.

      Enhancing Your Snow Effect


    • 5.

      First Snow


    • 6.

      How To Paint Realistic Rocks and Sand


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About This Class

Hi Everyone, and welcome to 'Creating Textures and Effects With Spattering'.

If you are here then your creativity has been awakened and this class is for you. All levels can benefit from a good spattering once and a while.

Spattering has been a tried and true painting technique for centuries. Yes, it is simple and can be overused and out of place when applied inappropriately and with poor taste. The secret for a good spatter is in the word effect. Does your subject matter really need this treatment?  Will it be enhanced by it? In the end, taste must prevail.

I started out as a realist painter and used spattering for many realistic interpretations of subject matter such as rocks, sand, and snow. These are the three applications for spattering that we will explore in this class.

I am not really too keen on 'monkey see monkey do'. Copying has never even entered my artistic practice in any significant amount. I do believe in emulating and mentoring and discovering - but not copying.

I like to give a general guideline and then encourage you to dig a little deeper into your own creative genius and bring forward 'original' material. I will supply the knowledge of the painter's craft and some invaluable techniques for you to run with.

Spattering is one of those techniques that will push you forward into some personal artistic discovery.

This is what you will learn from 'Creating Textures and Effects With Spattering'.

  • All you will need to know to become an expert 'Spatterer
  • How to create realistic textures with spattering
  • How to create a Snow Effect in your painting
  • How to use spattering in non-representational art
  • How to mask out areas and isolate them for spattering
  • How to re-evaluate your artwork and boost it to the next level with spattering

Here is a close up of the Rock and Beach picture I am working on. Much of it has been completed in this class. I like to have real paintings in the classes. Nothing is pre-planned and that is what makes it more exciting.

Here it is all 'masked' and  with the first application of 'spatter'

We will also have some real snow falling in this class. I have a very short Demo and a longer one showing you how to get some 'white water' on your painting.

 See You In Class, Ron

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ron Mulvey✏️

Artist / Art Teacher


I've been working as a full-time artist since 1980. I have had the pleasure of teaching art since 1983 and have taught thousands of classes on drawing and painting. I would consider it a privilege to assist you in achieving your artistic goals.

I have taught the basic and advanced mechanics and principles which give us the skill and confidence to express creatively, for the past 30 years. Sharing them is my passion! 

What Do I Like Teaching?

Watercolors and Acrylic are my specialty. I work with oils also but not as often as the water based mediums.

I love trees, mountains, rocks, water, flowers, and all that nature has to offer. Getting out into nature always gives me a creative boost. You get the real energy and feeling of space and belonging.See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Open Up Your Creativity With Spattering: Hi, I'm Ron Mulvey and I'm a landscape artist and today we're going to be doing some spattering. That's where you take the paint and you bang it on something, how kids do it all the time, get it all over their faces. Ours is going to be a little more controlled and we're actually going to get an effect for rocks and in effect for snow. It's sometimes overused and sometimes it's underused. You can use it for very realistic paintings like this. You can also create great effects like this. You're going to take a picture that you've already done that's dark, not too light, you want to make sure it's on the darker side, even tend to darken up a few areas, and then we're going to put some snow on it and show you how that really captures the feeling of winter. What we're going to do is taking some rocks and battering the rocks until they start to look very real. Today's technique will teach you how to take a painting maybe you are going to throw it out and turn it into a mini masterpiece, with the effect of spattering. We're going to be adding snow effect to this picture. Find a picture that you have at home, it doesn't necessarily even have to have snow on it, it could be the first snowfall before any snow is on the ground. All you'll need is some dark areas in it and we'll learn how to spatter the page, that is for a snow effect. Today we are on board for some spattering and how to use it judiciously and how to make an effective tool for your painting. 2. Spattering Set Up : You'll see that the three brushes at the bottom, we have a long brush that's for hitting the other brushes against to make the spatter. We have a tooth brush this time and a plastic card. That's going to be one of the techniques for the fine spatter. White, we'll need some cobalt blue, some thelo blue and I'll probably add some ultramarine blue in there. We have a high key yellow like a cadmium or a handset and of course, Alizarin crimson. Those are just some of the colors we could use. We're going to go ahead now and add little bit of water to each and remember we're looking for, if you add too much water, you can just spill it over like that. Because we just want the right amount of water to mix the white and if it spills into the yellow, that's good, we don't mind. Then I'll put a little more white over here. So see, this is my main white and you'll see it's very slurry and I'll put another white here and another white here. So now I have three whites. Add a little water and adjusting the thickness of the paint because I don't want it really dripping yet until I get all my colors mixed. So this side is going to be the dark colors, more transparent. This side is going to be the more opaque colors. So now I have to give my brush a really good clean and let me get to work now on the dark colors. I'm going to start with yellow because it's the easiest to get dirty. So there's my yellow, it's mixed up, it's a little chunky there I just keep mixing until it's thoroughly mixed. Then I take my yellow on the brush and I put it here. There we go, clean my brush again. Next I'm going to go to the next chroma. Chroma means darkness, that's a fairly high chroma, that red is a little lower, meaning it's not as bright or light. Of course, the thelo is the darkest chroma. The darkest, meaning the least amount of light. So there's my red mixed up and I'm going to put my red in here. We always describe pink as lovely but actually pink is a very strong color. Clean my brush. Preparing your paint for the rock spatter or sands spatter is the best thing you can do. It's easy when we do the snow spatter and we just basically use one color. So here comes the thelo and I'm not going to be mixing secondaries because what I want is pure color on my spatter. The eye will mix the colors from a distance. If you have blue against yellow, from a few feet, it will appear green. Your eye will mix the color. That's what pointillism and impressionism were all about. The eye mixing the color. There are our three spatter colors. Now, except I haven't done the blue, so I'm going to put the blue in here. Now there's a very intense blue that we can use for spattering. Now I might adjust a few of these now by adding a little more yellow in that one, I think it could use a little more yellow. They're a little thin. Notice I clean my brush every time, so I'm going to add a little more white in each one. There we go. That's perfect. Clean it off. Perfect, and the pink looks good too. Now I would like to take one more mixture. These little cups are great and I want to make my dark glaze and my dark spatter. So I take the pure thelo, clean off my brush. Then I take some red, not quite as much [inaudible] crimson. There you go, see, we're getting a nice dark color there. Let me clean off my brush. Now I have to bring it to what we call a tertiary color. A little bit of the yellow will gray it up and there we have our not so pure color. I'm thinking one more red. There we go. Now if you have bought ombre at home, even some black, put a little bit in if you don't mind. I don't tend to use the Earth colors too much. I like these three because they're nice and bright. There we are and now let's go over a few of the techniques that we're going to use. 3. Spattering; 3 Quick Tips: We need something to hit against the spatter. We need a little white and we may have to add little water to it. There we are. It's both the right consistency, doesn't quite drip, but it's liquid, because we don't want our spatter to splatter. So there, we're set with white, we have a little brush, a medium brush. I'll put my water over here and then you selected a picture. I've just pulled this one out of my bin and I'm going to just say take a little mixture of thalo, alizarin and a little yellow, which gave me a dark color and one of my favorite brushes, this little rigor brush. I'm just going to add in some dark areas because when you spatter, the dark areas show up the white paint for snow or you might say, ''Is this a snow picture?'' Yeah, there's the snow down here. It's up in the mountains. It looks like spring to me because I have some reds in it and you'll see in our first big demo, how we change the colors from cool to warm. There's a little trees sticking out here. Just adding a little dark here and there. So you can take a picture you have at home and don't give up on it. Just bring it to the next level by doing this little technique. There we go. I don't want to go too far with this because I can get carried away, but I am going to have a little more yellow here. We just have little spring note there and a little red note in here. See? Put it on, clean your brush off, spread it out, warm it up, and we're ready for our spatter. You need the big brush. We have our slurry, our white. I'm going to start with a smaller brush and I take a little bit of it and what I'm going to do is test it out. I'm going to aim for a little dark area here, tap lightly, then tap a little harder. Now it's coming. Soon as you figure out how hard you need to tap, that's it. You can do a lot of snow, you can do a little bit of snow. You can add yellow to the white and make a very bright snow or you can keep it on the gray side. That's our little spattering technique with white. Here's the easiest spatter. You put the toothbrush in there, tap a little bit and you just push it in like that. Look at that fine spatter. Now of course you have to clean your brush each time and now I'll add a little bit of the red to it. See the red? Just put a little bit on the toothbrush. There we go. We throw it. Another little technique, throw it. Those could be flowers in a field and then there we go. Put the blue at the bottom. Notice we're just doing free form here, we haven't really done any shape or anything like that. So that's the toothbrush. Here is the pure colors here. Now when that dries, if I add the colors with white, I can soften it. I can change it because the white will go over the dark. That's the technique with the card and the toothbrush. Of course, I could continue adding certain shapes to it, but what I want to show you now, a technique should be doing with the rocks and the sand, is taking a small amount of say yellow, and always have some white paper to tap it on, and let's say putting a little bit of yellow there, clean it off, and then maybe taking a small amount of blue. You could adjust all these colors in your palette and this time we're darkening it up with a glaze, but you have the texture underneath. Take the tape off very very very very very very slowly so that I don't pull this off. This is matboard, so it's very susceptible to ripping and that's why I used the painter's tape. I can just leave it there and reuse it if I want. See, this would be the wrong angle because you'd rip. So you want to be pulling the tape from that side. There's my masked area. Now if you wanted to do something non representational with this technique, just keep taping and masking and doing all kinds of things to it. 4. Enhancing Your Snow Effect: Here's a watercolor in mid-tones and light tones. The darks have not been established. As you can see, a picture like this can go a lot of different directions. If we make this area darker, right in here, it will come forward. As we make areas darker here and put in the shadows and reflections, it'll come forward. Here in will come forward that we warm up and darken. This will come back as we leave it alone, push it back. Then I might just put snow falling on this picture. This could keep me busy for three or four days. It was started outside, as an outdoor picture and brought inside, so it's waiting and begging to be finished. Lesson to be learned. This painting was started in 2001, it is now 2000 almost '17 and yet not a day has really gone by. Maybe I've changed my style, but I can still put myself back to this style of painting. I can take it and finish it up. It's a watercolor and we're going to make it snow. I'm going to be wetting the paper, darkening the water, darkening some trees, bringing out the blue. I've soaked the paper. This paper doesn't have any pigment sitting on top because it was rubbed likely many years ago so that all the thick paint came off so it's just stained. This is a watercolor that is not going to bleed because I've taken all the excess paint off. Basically what I have is a stained piece of paper and now I'm going to be darkening. If you have a watercolor wash it off in the bathtub, let all the pigment run-off that's sitting on top, and then wet it and you can do something like I'm going to do. I'm going to mix up some titanium white with some water. I have a little pinch of glue, a little dirty brush doesn't hurt the first application of snow. Snow is not all white. I always start with almost a very warm or cool, depending on what you want, gray that's not perfectly white. That's what we have here and it's runny, but it's not so runny that it's dripping. It's just like a slurry, I guess, and a little watery, or maybe like orange juice. There we are. Dip in with a small brush and then another brush and I'm going to cross over some dark areas. See, we just click it on there. Snow falls on an angle, so you can come down on an angle like this. What I'm doing here is I'm staying away from the blue and I'm going over my darker areas first. Now, you'll notice I've left a little white originally here. Sometimes the snow gets caught on things after it melts. So it might snow and then melt and some of the snow will be left on the trees forming little white spots like there. See, there we go. I'm going to just put that much on, a little bit here. Now, I'm going to let that dry because I don't want to overdo it. 5. First Snow: I found this one in my bin. I really went dark on this picture. But there are some things that I really like. I like these white reflections here, I like this white section, I even like the way I put my name off center. So I think this would be a good picture. November, we still have lots of color in November and we do get a snowfall sometimes in November. Here we go, let's add a little snow falling. Now remember, it's a slurry, meaning it's a little bit like orange juices, not too drippy. Don't be afraid, give it a couple little hints. There we go, and we're off and running. Once you do it, commit. I'm looking to cover some of the dark areas, especially here. So snow can obliterate objects or it can create a veil. So now the paint isn't quite so blobby now, and I can come closer. The closer makes the snowflakes look like they're farther away. Now would I just keep doing this and doing this? No, I think what I would do is I'd just stop right about there, let it dry and add a few of these before I stop. I take a little bit of the white paint and highlight a few areas. So it looks like the snow has fallen on the ground a little bit. Or maybe it fell a week ago and it melted a little bit. So now I can add little patches, white here and there, especially on the evergreens. So this is the beauty of adding a little bit of thin white over your watercolor. I see right in here, we have a nice little pathway going along here. It's probably on the other side of the river there. So now I'm looking at my picture. I'm starting to remember the day and where I was. Well, I guess I'm off and running now. I noticed these vertical. So what I've done is taking my rigger brush and I'm putting some verticals in. That would simulate that reflection. So now the painting that was too dark, it's turning out just fine. I'm letting it dry. I've added a few little highlights over here to thicken it up, just drop them in. Where I see some of these verticals, I accentuate them a little bit. I might just lay one right over here. Look at these here. Ever saw these before? They're perfect little reflections in the water there. So now I'm adding thin body paint. I'm using titanium white. You could use an opaque watercolor. Let it dry periodically so that you can check out your progress. So that one is on its way. It was in the bin and now it's out. Find a picture that you think isn't worth very much, bring it forward, darken it up, add some spatter, and see if you can find a new picture in that old picture. 6. How To Paint Realistic Rocks and Sand : The tape is used, it's just some tape. You put in what's called a mask and you can just work the take with your thumb and your finger, turn corners. Once you've done that, you can also add pieces of paper to mask it out. Once you've masked it out, then you can tap on or spatter on your texture. Make sure that the tape is non-stick. Painters tape, it comes off slowly and it doesn't wreck your paper. Here's my tape. I'm going to tape off the bottom part here. Like I said, I'm moving the tape with my fingers to get the shape, the rounded shape of the rock. The reason I do that is because I want to create a nice dark shadow right there. There's the edge of the rock buried in the sand. I'm just going to leave this a little freer here, a little few edges showing so that I can bring the sand right up to the rock here. It look like it's right up against the rock. We're going to be using the thalo first and we're going to be using our toothbrush because we want a finer sands. So there's the toothbrush, here's the credit card. Take a little bit of the thalo, push against it. Remember, I can glaze over this. That's the toothbrush and credit card or value card. A little bright yellow on to here, going to test a few here. There we go. Remember, when I glaze, this whiter color can be glazed to a very cool blue. There we go. It's going to be brightest here so I'll take my yellow and give it a couple of shots there. Notice the little textures underneath, they are showing through. That's good. Clean off the brush. Next, I'm going to give a little pink at the end here, a little bit of pink. Of course, a little bit of blue because we don't want it too warm. I've got a little blue here and probably that's about all I'm going to get in there. There we go. I'm just going to use my little brush and start tapping. Now, you can obviously see that this could take you a couple of evenings just tapping and getting sand texture [inaudible] that rock right in there. This is going to be the beach right across the bottom now. That's what we're working on there. Now let's take that off. Now, once you have determined your texture, you can select some glazing and heighten the intensity of some of the colors in different areas. Putting warm against cool. Each time that you glaze, your color will get deeper. That's a warm glaze. Now I'm going to add a cooler glaze using the ultramarine. Now, ultramarine is great if you use it thin. Watch how it will change this even more cooler, see? What I'm doing here is glazing and trying to get a more of a shadow area in here. I'm having a shadow come right across there, see? Just by using a little blue. Can even do it right here and here. Creating shadow areas using a blue, like ultramarine will create more depth in your picture. We can get little shadow area right in here. That's shadow coming across. Shadows always conform to the shape that they strike. If you have a round shape, you're going to have a round shadow. There's a good one right there. Just a little bits of the blue put on making the rock have shadow areas. It's amazing what you can do with just thin light places. Watch carefully. This the light side of the rock next to the dark rock and this is the top of the rock which is going to be light and the darker section is going to be right in here. I just tap in a little dark and I just bring a little dark forward a bit even into the light areas. That's it. Watch this orange go in here. Now it's blue here so be careful, it's a little wet. I'm just going to a pick up a little bit of orange on this side, maybe a little in there. Especially along here. Now, depending on the rocks in your area, I have seen everything from purple rocks to green rocks. You can go any color with rocks. Now, I'm going to get a vibrant blue. I'm just going to hit a little bit of the blue in there. Of course, the blue and the orange is a great combo. I can pick that big one up with a dry brush. Just twist the brush and pick it up. There we go. Let's take a look at that and see what it looks like in a few minutes after it dries. You can also do a little pointillism technique. Pointillism was after the French impressionists to movement led by Seurat. You just take some paint in the end to your brush and bright colors like oranges and pinks and greens, the shadow areas are a great place to put strong colors. Then later on, if they're a little too strong, then you can dove them down a bit, like here's a red, going right in there. Of course, up-close. It looks like a little red blob but from about five or 10 feet, your eye mixes the color and it becomes very vibrant. Your painting becomes really vibrant from above five or 10 feet. Yet when you go up close, you go, oh my goodness, it's just a bunch of little dots. Now you can use a little bit of that technique, it doesn't have to be overdone. You use a little bit here and there. Then a few brush strokes, you mix it up. I'm off and running. Having a good time with these little dots and little spatters. Spattering is a great way to give your picture lots of vibrance and excitement.