View Full Version : Stumped on what colors to iuse for the background

01-01-2002, 10:22 PM
I am about 50 percent finished with this portrait of my son and daughter. I know I should be working up the background now but everything I have tried fails so far. It is a pastel painting on greenish paper. I can change the color of her shirt and his is supposed to be light blue checked but as you can see, I have been working on mostly the faces. Now I need to think about the rest and I am clueless. I really love the way this is turning out and would appreciate any suggestions on tones that might fit in here. Thanks!! Nora

01-02-2002, 09:39 PM
Sorry, I'm new to this game, so can't help you with background colours. Just wanted to say what an awesome painting. You seem to have captured a wonderful sensitive, big brother side to your son, and that smile on your daughter's face ! As a teacher I'd love to meet her. I'm sure someone can give you great advice. Looks great the way its going. I look forward to seeing the finished painting.

Trish:clap: :clap: :clap:

01-19-2002, 02:36 PM

This is a nice painting, I think the colours in the background may be too similar in tone to the main painting and also it appears as if you have tried to include all the colours. I would lighten the background or use the green paper (which is contrast to the red in your painting) with just one of the colours from the figures.

Hope this is of some use, I'm learning to.


01-19-2002, 06:23 PM
Thanks, Trish and Geraldine. Geraldine-You are right about my trying all the colors in the background. This was a not very successful way to see if one of them caught my eye and I could use it as the main one. It didn't work very well. What I eventually did was opt for a warm background, using mostly reds and oranges to drown out the green paper and pick up some of the colors I used in their skin. This (to my mind) made it a more balanced painting.
In the future I will do some little thumbnail sketches to see what looks better. I had no idea it was going to be a piece I would want to keep and was looking at it more as a "practice".
Anyway- here is what I eventually did and yes, it could be better, but I'll probably try it again. I was happy to get the expression on their faces just right. The rest needs work. Thanks again for your comments. Nora

01-19-2002, 07:23 PM
the painting is hard to read because everything is done in middle tone. there are no darks or lights. and that might be where the problem lies. however, given, the image, i would get light with the background. you have to make the heads read well. keep the color simple or you will take focus away from the heads to a BUSY background.....{M}

cobalt fingers
01-19-2002, 09:11 PM
Henri said ," backgrounds should be just THAT"

less intensity

cobalt fingers
01-19-2002, 09:12 PM
I too like it

01-23-2002, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by cobalt fingers
Henri said ," backgrounds should be just THAT"

less intensity

Less intense and I would go with a darker background, but then again, most of my backgrounds are dark so it could be a failing on my part or just a personal preference. :D

03-15-2003, 09:18 PM
Well... it only took a year, but I did finally fix this and thought I would show you how it turned out.

I wanted to say thanks to Milt and the rest of you guys for your feedback.

Like Milt pointed out, there were no darks and lights- all middle tones, so I lightened up the background as he suggested. I also noticed (after not looking at it for over a year), that there was no green anywhere and it seemed to need some. Most of the color corrections were added green. I had let the green color of the paper influence me so much that I hadn't used ANY originally.

Thanks for all the help and feedback. I like this painting more now than I did before.


04-12-2003, 09:33 AM
Hi there,

Wow!!! Much better!

I'd just like to say how much better your piece looks now. What a major improvement. It has a much softer look and I'm glad you cropped out her awkward looking hand. Great work!


04-12-2003, 10:24 PM
Thank you for your note, Heather. I am much happier with it too- I finally hung it up on the wall. ;)