View Full Version : Appearance of grass using texture

07-01-2013, 09:11 AM
The WIP I'm working on is a dog chewing on a log on the grass. Although my work so far has been on the dog, I'm now ready to give some attention to the background and am wondering if anyone can suggest a technique that will produce a subtle grass-like texture without having to actually paint every piece of grass. I want the background to be subdued and not contain so much detail that it takes away from the dog.

Also, the stick in the picture looks more like a broom end. I'm not sure what type of wood it is, but after looking at it I really don't like it. So I'm debating between finding another picture of a stick or taking some pictures of elk leg bones we have in the yard. Your vote: stick or bone? Or something else?

07-01-2013, 09:54 AM
Your dog I'd fantastic! I vote for a bone with grass blades about.


07-01-2013, 12:00 PM
I think a bone would work equally as well as a stick. It's hard to make out just what it is but you are correct it does look like a broom stick. Your dog is painted amazingly well!:clap: :clap: :thumbsup:

M.L. Schaefer
07-01-2013, 07:07 PM
I vote for a stick (of your own invention). A good sized bone would make this pretty one's mouth open wider...plus there is plenty of gray in the fur already, it may get lost(?) or distract (?)

I think a LOT of negative painting to indicate grasses and weeds...a practice (or two) is in order before you decide! You don't want too much detail to "fight" with this little! My biggest issue would be the colors of the grasses...it should include some raw siennas, etc., so that it all looks like a "whole" and not discordant.

This is painted so very lovely, most especially those soulful eyes! Such good work, Lisa!

:heart: Margarete

07-01-2013, 09:18 PM
Can I just say how incredibly your work has improved since you posted your own first attempt at your own dog's portrait I think it was last year? Wow!!!

What about a rawhide instead of a stick? Rolled rawhide bones are pretty easy to paint and believable in just about any size plus no need for anatomical accuracy when it comes to a bone. The color of rawhide and the subtle textures are easily accomplished with layers of a yellow neutralized to beige with purple, and maybe a couple of hints of slight more yellow on side facing the light and don't forget on the underside to have a hint of the green grass reflected. I find sticks tough to paint and have them actually read as sticks.

For the background/grass, I would use neutralized greens in a sort of wet in wet mingled first layer, then come in and negative paint a subtle hint here and there of low lying leaves or blades of grass and let the edges kind of just soften out without too much definition on either side. The dog is the star, after all.

Looking forward to seeing this one completed! I just absolutely love the expression and the eyes of the dog! :clap: :clap: :clap:

M.L. Schaefer
07-01-2013, 11:54 PM
Oh, YES, a rawhide chew stick (having two little cats, a rawhide chew toy never came to mind - little puppy would look too funny with a fuzzy mouse toy!)

:heart: M.

07-02-2013, 01:17 AM
Doubbing a sponge for grass works for me varying shades of green. Is that not a squirrel?

07-02-2013, 06:20 AM
Oh, do I feel for you right now. You've created a fantastic work of art (and it is a fantastic dog portrait) - and you have to paint the grass. I've been there. I personally would begin with soft, light washes letting a variety of greens flow into each other.. When dry, create a few negative leaf shapes near the dog and leave the majority of grasses non-descriptive. You want the dog as the important element. If you need more at this point, you can always add it. Love to see your finished result.

07-04-2013, 06:51 AM
Your dog portrait is gorgeous. Now to put in the background. :angel:

I like Jan's idea of a mix of greens wet into wet then adding some elements of texture here and there done negatively. It's like painting a brick building...you only need to show a few bricks to have the viewer read it as a brick building. Same with the grasses. :D


07-05-2013, 01:31 PM
Wow! Thanks for everyone's advice. Hope everyone had a nice 4th of July. I think rawhide it is! What a great suggestion that I hadn't thought of. Eric, I'm interested in your unique suggestion of sponge work, as I have a few interesting shaped sponges I've collected over the years thinking they would make good texture. Do you have any examples to point to of what this looks like?

Can others point me to some examples of well-painted grass that contains both detail and non-detail? Obviously, before I touch the real thing, a test is in order.

07-05-2013, 01:39 PM
Check out this thread on Texturing effects and the different substances you can use:Textural Effects for Watercolors (http://www.wetcanvas.com/ArtSchool/Watercolors/Textures/index.html).

Here's one from the Learning Demos by Sharon Douglas: Grass W.I.P with a Kestrel (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=275358&highlight=demo)

Hope that helps...the Watercolor Handbook and Learning Demos are great resources for all kinds of things. ;)


07-05-2013, 02:32 PM
Thanks Sylvia! I have tried salt and wadded up saran wrap before for texturing, but alone neither of these seems like it will produce a grass-like texture.

07-05-2013, 02:34 PM
Lisa I did this with a natural sponge,just daub different shades. you can do wet on wet. Grass Just (http://eharder.com/Americana/Americana%20I%20-%20gallery.jpg)
I used a dry sponge Just a light touch use differen side of your sponge for sizing.. Do a practice I used piece and you'll see how it goes. also great for trees and background foliage or flowers.

07-05-2013, 06:58 PM
If you can't get comfortable with an approach to grass, you could always just paint the dog lying on a blanket with a few interesting folds and waves.

07-08-2013, 08:54 AM
Hmm. Another good idea, Carole, and thanks for your earlier compliments. I'm working really hard to refine the techniques I'm learning, so it's good reinforcement to hear that you think they're working. Lots to experiment with!