Tips for painting in summer

Struggling with painting in the hot weather? There are a number of things you can do to mitigate the effects of the heat when painting.

Check out our expert tips below.

Watercolour Painting

Use a spray bottle

In hot conditions your paper will dry faster than you think. Use a spray bottle of water on mist setting to keep it wet. If it’s hot and dry, try wetting the paper a little before beginning. You can also mist your paint palette occasionally to keep it damp.

Make use of gum arabic

If your paint is drying out too quickly, try mixing in a little gum arabic. This will slow the drying time.

Work with your fan

If you need to have a fan running, be aware that it will dry your painting faster. Try not to have it blowing directly on your painting. However, if it is hot and humid, your painting will dry slower, so the fan can be your friend.

Change your technique

If painting outside on a hot dry day, consider using dry brush techniques for that outing and save wet-on-wet techniques for a cooler day.

Watch out for the sun

Be careful with sun cream- it acts as a resist to watercolours. Try getting up early to sketch and paint when the sun is less bright. Stay in the shade and drink lots of water!

Acrylic Painting

Use water

  • If the acrylics on your palette are developing a skin and drying out too fast- try spraying your palette with a fine mist of water. Be careful not to spray too much, as you could dilute the pigments.
  • You can also try dampening your brush with water and tapping off excess water before mixing paint and loading paint onto your brush.
  • Spraying a fine mist on the back of your canvas will help your paint flow better in hot weather.


Create a stay wet palette

A stay wet palette is a palette that helps to keep your paints ‘wet’ and stop them from drying out. It is easy to make your own- it consists of a piece of grease proof paper that sits on top of a wet piece of paper towel in an air tight container.

Make use of mediums

  • Apply to a small dry area of your canvas a Slow Dry Blending Gel Medium and paint into this area while the medium is still wet. This will help you cope with the drying time.
  • Make sure to work a small area at a time. Don’t cover the whole canvas with gel medium as it is important to work while the medium is still damp.
  • When mixing your paint you can add a small amount of Retarder Medium to your palette to reduce paint from skinning-over, allowing you more time to work on your painting.

Stay out of sunlight

Try to keep the paper out of direct sunlight as it hurts the eyes and affects tonal values. If you’re a morning person, try getting up at 6am to paint and sketch while it is still cool. Stay in the shade, and take frequent breaks.

But it’s just too hot to make art!

Try researching new mediums, techniques and references instead. Plan your next artwork.

Want to learn/develop your skills in acrylic or watercolour painting? We have classes available! Check out our website and follow the links.

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