View Full Version : Background needed? Butterfly on flower

09-28-2013, 07:16 PM
This is on a taupe colored Canson using Faber-Castele pastel pencils. C&C always welcome.:) Oh, I got completely lost in those butterfly wing spots so I just had to wing it (hehe, love me a good pun).

Also, does it need a background? My mom wants it and said she likes it as is so I'm just curious about what you all think regarding a background.

http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww196/partlycloudy/butterfly.jpg (http://s719.photobucket.com/user/partlycloudy/media/butterfly.jpg.html)

09-28-2013, 08:00 PM
This is very nice! If your Mom wants it and likes it without a background, then there is no need! There's no need anyway since the paper color is the background. Now, in many cases you want the background to have some color variation and/or gradation. The trouble is, in a painting like this, you are usually better off putting in the background first. If you wait until last, you would have to put the background in right up to the edge of all the foreground objects. Doing so without leaving a "halo" around the objects is difficult, meaning that you have to overlap a little bit and would have to touch up and redo much of the edge of the objects. But, I'm sure you knew all that!


09-28-2013, 10:50 PM
Don, thank you! And for the background info. I was, in fact, wondering how on earth I was going to get it on without having to redo alllllll those edges. I thought maybe there was some pastel secret I didn't know about. :D

09-28-2013, 11:06 PM
I really like the appearance of it as it is. Just as the butterfly focuses solely on the flower, the person viewing it focuses solely on the flower - and on the butterfly.

09-28-2013, 11:50 PM
I agree with what Don said. If you wanted to paint the background, it would have been much easier to do earlier on. Painting it along with the subject would have made the edges issue part of the process, instead of a "fixer-upper". When you work with a colored paper you always have that option to use the paper as the background, and it works fine here. Your mother will enjoy this painting for years to come, it will look beautiful in a frame. Both the butterfly and the flower are very well done, lovely painting!

09-29-2013, 03:48 AM
You need to think VERY carefully about how you frame it. I would suggest not too much grey paper around the butterfly...the less, the better.

Unfortunately, paper colours are fugitive and often fade with the light. Best to keep this away from direct lighting from a window.

I recommend you take two L shapes bits of paper, and play around with them around the butterfly to see where to position any mount.

09-29-2013, 10:32 AM
Thank you everyone! I used this color to kind of mimic the background on the image I used which was kind of a taupe (a dark pond out of focus). It's not exact but close enough. A "fixer-upper" is the perfect way to describe what it'd become if I tried to put in a background.

Jackie, thank you, I didn't know that about papers fading so easily. Meh. I did intend on framing or matting it very tightly as I thought it would look odd with too much paper showing.

09-29-2013, 12:10 PM
This is very nice. The flower in particular looks really 3D. Yes, it's hard to add in a background at this point so it may be best left. The paper may or may not fade but, as long as the faded colour still goes nicely with the subject, I don't see why that should matter.

09-29-2013, 04:26 PM
a well-crafted piece . :)

good thoughts coming in from all , and imho , no additional b/g needed .

if you would allow ,
there is a certain sense of separation from the gentle petals and stem
compared to the character/darks of the butterfly + darks/intensity of the center of the flower ...

it could be my screen , or other tech stuff ...

just wondering if the thought had crossed your mind .


09-29-2013, 07:25 PM
I know others have had problems with fading. I am assuming you used Canson MT? That is the paper I use when I am not using a sanded surface. I haven't had any noticable fading though I haven't taken one out of the frame. I also don't keep my paintings in direct sunlight. I think it should be fine if you take care and keep the direct sun off it. Of course you will mat it properly... i am sure you will come up with a beautiful composition using a mat! It will look beautiful.

09-29-2013, 09:15 PM
Agree with everyone - no background necessary. Would like to add that the petals on the flower are exquisite - a lovely sense of depth here :)


09-30-2013, 11:43 AM
Thank you everyone! Yes, it is Canson MT. I'll also be sure to let my mom know to not display it in sunlight just in case.

Ed, I appreciate all feedback, thank you. Are you referring to the softness of the petals/stem vs. sharpness of the darks? It hadn't crossed my mind at all. I'm a newbie so I miss a lot that's obvious to a more experienced eye.

10-01-2013, 04:23 PM
yeah , that's basically the thought ...
myself , recognizing ' reds ' as a value
( measured in grayscale from black to white and all in between )
is still something i can't get my head around .
> a quick ' cheat ' is to look at the painting thru a piece of re-tinted transparent plastic gift wrap
or any other red-tinted material/software/digital camera options you can find .

agree with Jackie's advice to explore different dimensions for the edges of this
and what might appeal to your eye .

being a ' newbie ' is good ! :)
- your eyes , your hand , your curiousity ,
your effort/invention to create a painting with the materials you have ,
exploring the ' what if ' as the painting goes along ,
is entirely yours .
( i bite my tongue as i write this to have mentioned the gray-scale thing , yet ... :rolleyes: )


10-02-2013, 12:03 AM
Ed, you know, I've been trying for a month to get to either the art store or the fabric store to pick up one of those transparent value thing-a-ma-bobs and still haven't made it. I'll get one tomorrow and take a look. I'm really interested to see how it changes things. The person I'm giving this to loves it as-is, but I'm working on something else that it'll help with tremendously. Thank you for clarifying!

10-02-2013, 01:23 AM
Very nice, how you made flower, really the flower is beautiful done!

10-02-2013, 02:23 PM

gotta say , it took a month of casual hunting to find the red plastic gift wrap :rolleyes:
> finally found it at a dollar store .
>> was going to buy cheap low-mag reading glasses , or a piece of acrylic
and coat it with a glaze or two of very watered down red acrylic paint ... :D

your idea about getting one of those multi-purpose gadgets is good . :)
> if you have some mat ' window ' cut-outs , or edge cuts/legs ,
they can be improvised/assembled at home for a rough duplicate ,
along with additional stuff that you can add as needed .

digital cameras and/or cam-phones have a B&W option ;
( it's a reference point which comes from dead-center gray on way-old b&w exposure
as coloured hard-film was developed , along with papers , chemicals , and so on . )
> usually it's in the general menu , but occasionally found in ' save ' ...


10-04-2013, 06:11 AM
Agree, it's lovely. Petals especially delicate and have depth.

10-04-2013, 09:47 AM
Thank you, Donna. :)

Ed, Joann fabrics has those plastic red value thingamabobs in their quilting section. However, I just may have a piece of acrylic lying around that I can make one with your red glaze idea. I like that. I've used the B&W option on my computer several times and find it very helpful. Mine also has a reddish version as well. But I'd rather have the plastic thing.