What tips can you share for painting a rusting surface?
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Adding a way to depict rusty surfaces to your repertoire can be helpful, especially for painting backgrounds. Rust or iron oxide occurs when unprotected iron comes into contact with water. This means it usually indicates old, weathered metal objects, and can add realism to any scenes where wear and tear is expected. Iron is usually protected with a layer of paint, and it can add interest to depict rust interacting with flaking or welted paint.
When painting rust you should take note of the physics, such as where water would come into contact with iron and where the iron object would experience stress. For instance, in the example I’m painting of an abandoned car in a forest, the metal grilles in front might rust in a different way to the car body. Rust forms in streaks (for example, on the car door) where water has presumably flowed down. But because the main car body has been protected by paint, the rust is milder on it.
Other weathering effects occur as well. Moss forms on top of the car, as the spores would land and stay on top of it rather than collect on the sides.
Weathering can make an artwork more evocative because it implies a narrative. Each scratch and dent on a vehicle tells of its history, and can make the viewer curious about its story.
Adding headlights and tweaking the lighting creates a different, slightly eerie atmosphere. It’s no longer just an old, abandoned car…