View Full Version : Question re: blurry backgrounds, Strathmore

Lisa M
04-22-2007, 11:43 AM
I have a methods or technique question. I'm working with Strathmore paper and recently tried to do a background with blurry flowers in a pasture, what I see in many photos and have seen in a few posts here. I really have troubles getting the right colors and values for the blurriness--essentially the circles that are really blurry flowers or light coming through trees and such. This is a style used a lot by Leslie Harrison, with whom some of you may be familiar, but she uses velour and I know how to do this on velour (sort of):rolleyes: .

My question is how to get this effect on Strathmore paper, or I suppose Canson would be similar. Does anyone have an old WIP that may show this, or can anyone give me some advice? I can't figure out whether to lay a solid background with colors over, or whether to patch in the colors and then blend them, or maybe it's something else I need to do.
Sorry I don't have an example, for that is precisely what I need.


04-22-2007, 03:31 PM
Normally I would say that getting the right values and colors should have little to do with the paper. If you know how to approximate this technique on velour, but it doesn't seem to work on Strathmore - then it may just not work on Strathmore. Velour and Strathmore happen to be the 2 types of paper that I work on and they are very different. Some of the effects that are possible on velour just can't be duplicated on other papers.


Piper Ballou
04-22-2007, 04:19 PM
Lisa, I agree with Don. I never had much sucess with Starthmore. If you could get some Wallis, or La Carte or Colourfix I think you would find you will make leaps with your artwork

04-22-2007, 05:34 PM
shave off a bit of pastel onto a paper plate, then use your finger/thumb to 'paint' the dust onto your paper. it uses hardly any tooth, and gives you that blurred look you are after. i use various hues of greens, then splash in a few dark yellows to get the effect you describe.

Lisa M
04-23-2007, 10:03 AM
Hi Don and Piper -- Thanks for the help--I've been sticking to working with my Strathmore because although I have some velour, I feel as though I need to get better overall before "wasting" my sheets. I know the paper doesn't affect the color values, unless it's a strong-colored paper I suppose, and I should've been more clear that I was wondering about blending techniques on the Strathmore for that effect I tried to describe. I was wondering if maybe that background effect couldn't be done so well on the Strathmore, but then again, so much of the work I see in WC seems to defy possibility!!
Chewie -- Thanks for the suggestion of shaving pastels. I hadn't thought of it! I use a dry, soft brush on the velour but it doesn't do the same thing on other paper.

I have considered ordering some Wallis, and just need to do it and try that paper too.

Thanks all for the help.


04-23-2007, 12:01 PM
I haven't been able to post any of my stuff yet but, I think I know what your talking about...I agree with Chewy instead of my finger I use a Q-tip (100% Cotton only) and make small circles while painting it on. Use a test sheet. It seems to work nicely. basically useing the Q-tip like the brush but you have to scrub a little harder on Canson. I also use a metal file to get a fine dust instead of shaving, differant method same result.:)

04-24-2007, 05:11 PM
I blend the edges out to make it look blurry on other paper. Then you can touch up highlights that may not be blended to keep the vibrancy of color. I don't think I've ever used Strathmore.