Ombre and Blending Tutorial

Hey there lovely painty friends!
Thank you so much for reading my first blog, this is my new, covid safe way of staying in touch with you all!
I really miss everyone popping into the studio and chatting about their projects. My plans to do painting workshops at the church have been put on hold a little by lockdown, so I thought I'd go online instead! I really want to share my passion for painting with you and give you the confidence to take this time to learn something new... and something really fun!
I decided that each month I'd feature a painting technique... starting with my favourite!
Ombre and blending 😍
This January loads of you joined me for my first online tutorial on Facebook live and it was great to demonstrate how to ombre...its not that intimidating once you know how is it! It was incredible having so many of you paint along with me and I've loved seeing your pictures. Keep them coming!
I did the tutorial in 2 parts, here's the links if you'd like to watch them again...
For those of you who didn't catch the live here's a run down of the demonstration...

What Is Ombre & Blending?

Ombre is a technique where you graduate from one colour at the bottom of a piece of furniture through to a different colour at the top.
Blending is where you have different areas of colour on your piece and you blend where the colours meet so that it flows seamlessly from one colour to another.

Planning Your Project

This is the exciting bit, where you can let your imagination run wild, play with colour schemes and decide on the overall aesthetic you're aiming for.

This technique is super versatile! You could use a light, medium and dark shade of the same colour to create a soft subtle design, say light green through to dark green. You could choose bright primary colours to create a more vibrant design for children, or you could choose the latest on trend shades for a contemporary look.
Think about the positions on your furniture where your colours are going to you want three even blocks of colour or do you want a dipped effect with a subtle blend just at the bottom of your piece of furniture?

What do you need?

1) Select a piece to paint, it could be a piece of wood to use as wall art or a piece of furniture... whatever takes your fancy! You'll need to prepare it in the same way you would anything you were going to paint, so a good clean and a scuff sand or prime if it's shiny or there's a risk of bleed through.
2) Select your paint colours, think about how the colours will mix at the joints where you blend. So for example, if you blend from yellow to blue you'll get green at the joints, if you choose orange and blue you'll get a muddy not very nice colour at the joints.
3) You'll need a few brushes, I use one for each colour plus an extra one for blending on furniture. On smaller pieces of wall art you can quickly wash a small brush when you change colour.
4) For larger pieces a mister spray is also really helpful, to rehydrate the paint and give you a little more blending time. Alternatively you could add a few drops of Fusion Extender to your paint, this slows down the drying process of the paint... we call this extending the open time
5) It's always handy to have a few rags or an old towel close by to wipe your hands or wipe excess paint from your brush
6) A hairdryer can be a really handy tool too if you'd like to dry your first coat so you can start your second coat straight away

Time To Ombre

Yay the painty bit!

I like to paint the bands of colour onto my piece before I start to blend where the colours meet. This allows me to step back and assess the colour balance and really visualise the final design before I put too much work into getting that perfect soft blend. You may decide that you want a thicker or a slimmer band of one of the colours once you see them laid out on your piece. At this point it's easy to adjust the positions of the bands, and move the joints between colours to the perfect spot on your piece of furniture. Then you can start to blend 😃
Now that you've got your colour balance perfect, you need to make sure that the paint where the colours meet is wet. If you need to apply a fresh stripe of each colour of paint go ahead. Now take your clean dry brush and blur the 2 colours together.  Work the brush back and forth across the joint to mix the paint.
To create a smaller blended area just move your brush back and forth horizontally. If you'd like a larger area of the colour created by mixing those two colours you can also work your brush up and down the piece to move the paint further.
You can use your brush to manipulate the paint in more ways that you'd think to get the look you're after...
1) Paint on the brush will apply paint
2) A dryer brush will remove paint
3) A lot of pressure will mix all layers of the paint 
4) A lighter touch will just smooth out the paint on top for a softer finish
Play with this technique until you're happy with the blended effect. There is honestly no right or wrong here...that's the beauty of art! Every piece will be different and that's what's so interesting!
My two tips here are as follows
1) You rarely get perfect coverage with any first coat of paint, I know I always apply at least 2 coats.  So don't worry if the blend isn't perfect on your first go, you can apply more paint and blend on top a second time.
2) If your paint is starting to dry and get difficult to blend this is where your mister is great! Hold it back from the piece and apply a very fine mist onto the surface to prevent it from drying...don't get too heavy handed as drips of water running down your piece will ruin your blend!

Now To Get Creative 

Now you've tried the basic technique you can explore your creativity and really express yourself!
Here's a few ideas to try...
🖤 Blend with metallics 
🖤 Add fresco to your paint to create texture
🖤 You don't have to blend in horizontal stripes, create interesting shapes and waves over your piece 
🖤 Apply a glaze on top
🖤 Blend to accentuate the features of your furniture,  for example a darker colour around the edge of doors and a lighter colour in the centre
🖤 Try blending the joints between your colours with a rag or circular motions using a round brush to create different effects 
I hope you have fun experimenting with this technique! Please share your thoughts, questions and projects over on our Fusionistas Nottingham fb group

Next Month

Join me in February for my live paint pour tutorial 
Live paint pour tutorial

Leave a comment