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View Full Version : Cactus Flower-Need help with background-WIP


Piper Ballou
10-02-2005, 10:20 PM
This is a cacti that we had growing in our backyard. I am not real experienced with flowers so this was different for me to do. The flowers are very magenta, which was fun to paint.
Now I do not have a clue on how to finish it. Should I put the shadows of cacti in the background, or paint the cacti stems with lots of needles, or a plain background, maybe even a dark color.
I tried to start the background a little on the bottom left but was going no where.

On Wallis 9 by 12
any helps or hints or a knock on the head will be welcomed.
thanks
piper

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2005/8539-pink_cactus_3.jpg

Nancy Leone
10-02-2005, 10:24 PM
No advice but I like it!

KJSCL
10-02-2005, 10:25 PM
The flowers look great so far, lovely colors.

Backgrounds are my weak point so I can't really help, but actually I like what you've done so far - I'd continue with that.

K Taylor-Green
10-03-2005, 01:09 AM
It's gorgeous, Piper. The flowers are very well done. As for BG, something with yellow in it, nothing overwhelming, but I think the magenta just calls for yellow.

Merethe T
10-03-2005, 11:15 AM
Piper, this is so gorgeous, love it! I'm not that big on BG's myself, so I can't really give that much advice. But I'm thinking the BG shouldn't compete with the flowers, just make them pop! You already have a winner there.... :)

khourianya
10-03-2005, 12:02 PM
I like the thought of some yellow tones back there, though I think I would aim for the ochre side of yellow...of course, this is from the girl who paints all of her backgrounds solid so she doesn't have to think about them! :D I am looking forward to seeing how this one comes out...

jackiesimmonds
10-03-2005, 12:15 PM
You need to think carefully about your background. You have lots of choices. Here are a few ideas:

1. Use colour harmony. This means choosing colours from the same side of the colour wheel, colours which are next to each other. (it does require a knowledge of the colour wheel, so if you don't know it, now's the time to look it up!)

2. Use colour complementaries. This means selecting the colour family which is OPPOSITE magenta on the colour wheel. However, you have to remember that if 50% of your pic is magenta, and 50% is its complementary, they will visually fight with each other, particularly if they are equally saturated. It is best to choose one main colour and use a smaller amount of its complementary in the pic. Your flower is essentially from the "red" family, to my eye, rather a blue-red of course, but it does mean that its complementary would be a cool green. (I personally love the cool greyish greens you have used so far, they work very well indeed.) If it is much more of a cool purple, then its complementary would be a cool yellow.(I think this wouldn't work at all. But who am I to say!)

2. Go dark. This will make light tones pop but can have the effect of the flower sinking into a dark hole if not done VERY carefully.

3. Go light. This will make the mid and light tones in the flower look richer.

4. Go shaded. Tricky to do, but can be very effective

5. Go neutral - for instance, subtle shades of soft blue-greys and soft blue-purple-grey.

6. Use texture. This might be too busy? Depends how you do it. Subtle might work.

Why not put this picture into a paint programme on your computer, and try a few options. I use |Microsoft PhotoDraw, which is very userfriendly, and easy to try out different materials and colours.

Good luck!

Orchidacea
10-03-2005, 06:38 PM
Piper, these are beautiful--so delicate and tissue-y. I like that bit of background you've got going in the corner--what about more of that? You've got a lot of interesting choices now; I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

meowmeow
10-03-2005, 07:31 PM
The flowers are gorgeous, Piper. YOu did a fantastic job.
I agree with all Jackie is saying. Ultimately you have to decide but I am thinking the cool greenish would be nice.
I know when I do a background I try to use the colors I have used in the painting and if I introduce something into the background then I try to add bits of it into the painting it self. Hope that makes sense.
But as to light or dark, that is your decision. Psssssssttttt.....go light! :D

Sandy

Nori
10-03-2005, 07:48 PM
Wow Piper, everything you post looks so great. I'd also like a yellow but mostly sandy toned background. Your cactus flesh looks fantastic.

Alisa
10-03-2005, 08:14 PM
Jackie wrote..."Go neutral - for instance, subtle shades of soft blue-greys and soft blue-purple-grey"

I vote for this one:)

ctmobitz
10-03-2005, 08:30 PM
Wow....great pastel painting....just need some complimentary colors in there and WOW what a painting !!!

Claude

Piper Ballou
10-03-2005, 09:03 PM
Kate and Cori- I was thinking of a yellow first
then Jackie posted, and it is "oh my, oh me", so I am reading now all Jackie had to say in her pastel workbook and then will sleep on it and decide tomorrow.

For you, Sandy, Kim, Alisa and Claude- I am thinking of going light with some of the colors plus some of the greens I have started it will be neutral.

thanks Nancy, Kathy, Merethe for all the help, I do appreciate everyone who replied.

Best to let this one rest and then let the colors call to me.
thanks again
piper

Piper Ballou
10-04-2005, 12:37 AM
Jackie- I have been thinking all evening about the shadow techinque you mentioned. Do you have a sample that you could post here or explain how one might go about painting it.
thanks
piper

cjkelly
10-04-2005, 05:38 AM
Piper - I'm always in a quandry about backgrounds too, but I like the idea of ochre, very subdued, light and textured.
I've also taken benefit from playing around in Photoshop if I'm unsure - it's much easier to erase if it goes wrong :D

cj

jackiesimmonds
10-04-2005, 05:53 PM
Jackie- I have been thinking all evening about the shadow techinque you mentioned. Do you have a sample that you could post here or explain how one might go about painting it.
thanks
piper


Not sure I know what you mean .... what shadow technique - when did I mention it?

J

ps a few people have voted for yellow or ochre. Do try this in photoshop or some other similar programme first.. I don't think it will work at all, I think it will look yukky. Sorry folks. Just my opinion.

Piper Ballou
10-04-2005, 10:45 PM
Jackie- you mentioned a list of ideas in your first post, one you mentioned is listed below (sorry do not know how to do a quote)

4. Go shaded. Tricky to do, but can be very effective

I was not sure what you meant by that, Go Shaded.

here is some information about this type of cactus...they come in clumps or bunches not just one stem with flowers on them so right now it looks a little odd to me. I am thinking I need to add something more, but then I also over do so much I am trying to keep this simple,

thanks for your help
piper

jackiesimmonds
10-05-2005, 03:29 AM
Jackie- you mentioned a list of ideas in your first post, one you mentioned is listed below (sorry do not know how to do a quote)

4. Go shaded. Tricky to do, but can be very effective

I was not sure what you meant by that, Go Shaded.

here is some information about this type of cactus...they come in clumps or bunches not just one stem with flowers on them so right now it looks a little odd to me. I am thinking I need to add something more, but then I also over do so much I am trying to keep this simple,

thanks for your help
piper

sorry, that wasn't very clear, was it. I did not mean "shadows", I simply meant instead of using one tone throughout, you could try shading from light to dark, either from top to bottom, or from corner to corner, or from side to side. I will see if I can find some examples and come back to you, but I am being nagged by my puss for breakfast!
Jackie

I'm back:
You could use some of the foliage which comes with the flowers, but perhaps instead of keeping it all equally detailed, as you reach the edges of your paper, you could "fade out", with a soft, out-of-focus effect (smudging/blending works at this point!) It is a good rule of thumb not to put anything important and sharp-detail within about 1" of the edge of your sheet.

Here are some lovely backgrounds. They are watercolours, but you can do virtually the same kind of thing with pastels by blending, or overlaying, or feathering, or cross-hatching your colours. See how she has "shaded" in some cases, keeping it light and moving into the darker areas; see how the details are blurry; see how the colours to be found in the flowers are subtly repeated in some cases:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/1805-Anne\s_flowers.jpg

this one is step 3 of 4. She worked more on the flowers but not the background (too big to scan)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/1805-anne\s_flowers2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/1805-anne\s_flowers3.jpg

Hope you find these helpful.

Jackie

jackiesimmonds
10-05-2005, 03:55 AM
something wrong with the uploader? It seemed to work, and there is nothing wrong with the images...I will try again here:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/1805-anne_flowers.jpg

this one is unfinished, she only worked on the flowers tho:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/1805-anne_flowers_2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2005/1805-anne_flowers_3.jpg

see how the shaded effect allows the image to "breathe" somehow? You can do this with pastels very easily; try it on a spare sheet of paper first if you are unsure what to do or how to do it. Putting down side strokes of pastel, and then blending gently with a torchon, or even your finger, will do it, and then over the top, where you want, you can gently add some leaf or foliage shapes.
Good luck!

jackiesimmonds
10-05-2005, 03:58 AM
Phew! Got it sorted in the end.

CindyW
10-05-2005, 10:03 AM
Piper, how beautiful! Really striking colors and softness of markings...can't wait for the finish!
Cindy

Piper Ballou
10-05-2005, 10:07 AM
Jackie-thanks so much, that is extactly what I was thinking about doing but could not figure it out....I am on my way to work now with lots of good thoughts and colors running in my head and hopefully will be painting them tonight
thank you so much

thanks Cindy for your lovely comments, I am looking foward to finishing this one too
piper