View Full Version : Backgrounds!!! Helpppppppppp!!!

11-10-2004, 08:38 AM
Can anyone point me in the right direction to any articles on how to paint backgrounds - I have always struggled with them and this latest portrait is giving me nightmares.

I can never seem to get the lovely smooth effect that a lot of people seem to attain on here.

Is it best to put the background in first or better to put it in last - in this latest one I left it till last and now i seem to be getting halo effects around their heads :(

Any hints and tips will be most gratefully accepted.

Pat x

11-10-2004, 08:50 AM
Pat, I am not sure what exactly you mean by smooth, i.e. completely even colour without any variations? Anyway, you best bet is to prewet the paper (thoroughly right to the edge of their heads) and then drop in the colour. If it's not strong enough you repeat once it is dry.

11-10-2004, 10:56 AM
Pat I've always had best luck with backgrounds when they are worked either before the subject or right along with the subject. deciding what to paint and painting it after sometimes looks like it was an afterthought. not to mention how hard it is to paint around something. :(

sorry to hear you are having difficulties with your portrait


11-10-2004, 11:01 AM
Ok thanks for that - will see what I can do - I can but soldier on....lol


11-10-2004, 12:13 PM
Pat wet with clean water right up to the hair and then turn the piccy upside down and then throw in the paint, the paint will travel upwards. Your board should be at about 25 - 30 degrees. The excess water will now run to the bottom of the slope, the top of the painting, and you can deal with it better there. This will stop you having to go back to take out excess paint out around the heads, and probably why you get the halo.

When dry you could try putting a couple of strands of hair into the b/g. If the hair is paler, then before you start, put some strands of hair in with masking fluid, masque pen would be best.

11-10-2004, 02:46 PM
might be silly, but have you tried SEARCH?

there have been so many discussions about backgrounds over the years

Like EMily...I usually do the BG along with the rest to keep the values working...or at least apply the first layer BEFORE the subject (and over it usually) to keep it all felling "together"

11-10-2004, 03:23 PM
LOL - yes Pam that's the first thing I tried. :)

11-10-2004, 07:15 PM
I have a book, .Painting Crystal and Flowers in Watercolor by Susanna Spann (Painting Crystal and Flowers in Watercolor by Susanna Spann)

Page 84-85 smokey backgrounds. BUT, she has 7 sectioons on backgrounds.

Not just for flower paintings either, you can use these in any painting you know.. ;)



11-10-2004, 07:34 PM
Thanks JJ :D


11-10-2004, 08:02 PM
Pat I can't help you with your background, but I did want to tell you. I got a kick out of your quote :)