View Full Version : Rain Background Exercise

08-05-2009, 03:50 PM


Title: Rain Background Exercise
Year Created:
Medium: Watercolor
Surface: Watercolor Paper
Dimension: 11 x 15
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

This is an exercise painted from a newspaper photo. I chose it because of it's abstract background and because I wanted the fun of painting the elegant figure and umbrella.

I want to lea
to design abstract backgrounds for still life, florals and portraits which will complement the subject with shape and color and lead the eye throughout the picture plane. All comments, criticisms and suggestions will be welcomed and used in my study. I am also interested in any books or articles you might know of on the subject of backgrounds.

08-06-2009, 05:29 AM
I’m rather drawn to your style and approach. Your chosen subject and lively use of color are very easy on my eyes. This is a really nice painting. The movement and atmosphere work really well.

As far as the design, I feel you have separated the figure from the background a little too much value and edge wise, and it is breaking up the simple shapes that make this design so dynamic. To help you see the basic design, I turned both the ref and your painting into b&w images, then posterized them to only four values. By trying to make the background more abstract, you missed its fundamental abstract qualities—the simple shapes that made the design so effective.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2009/140629-126958_photo_ref.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2009/140629-126958_Rain.jpg

It’s difficult to see the underlying value/tone of color, but with practice you can train your eyes to do it naturally. A good website that discusses the values of colors is handprint.com. An added bonus for you, is that it focuses on watercolor paints. :) The site can be overwhelming with information, but start here (http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/color11.html)and read all the way through without clicking on any of the links (difficult to do, if you are anything like me, lol).

Thanks for posting and the best of wished in your painting journey.

08-06-2009, 08:06 AM
Oooh, oooh, I love this. I'm a sucker for this type of composition though.

I actually love the way you have brought the figure out from the background, this provides excellent separation and contrast and focuses the subject.


08-06-2009, 08:33 AM
I love the glow you have painted. The only thing I might have done differently, is made the umbrella red.

08-06-2009, 02:15 PM
sure does look wethttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2009/182771-umbrellasmilef.gif ...abstracted and yet recognizable......
look forward to your next "Exercise".....yd

08-06-2009, 03:18 PM
Thanks to all for kind comments. My first post; kind of scary and not the best photo; will do better next time. I'm a sucker for orange/blue combo-use it often.Tali, I appreciate the reference to value article-it's in my favorites to be studied at leisure. Much is familiar, lots is new in depth to me. And thanks for the reminder to 'posterize' my ref.-have done that before and it does work well. It's all about shapes and values, all else is frosting on the cake.
Right? It is interesting to me that I have acquired so much good info through reading and from teachers and critiques and yet do such a poor job of remembering to apply it. I guess I need to get my head out of the clouds and my nose closer to the grindstone!:) Myrna

08-06-2009, 03:48 PM
Just keep doing what you're doing. :)

08-06-2009, 04:02 PM
I appreciate your complimentary palette...it is fun to paint an elegant figure and it is fun to manipulate two colors into all of the other color and value you need. Great job!

08-06-2009, 04:34 PM
Excellent painting - the subject has all the poise and elegance that she should have - very, very good. I also think the complimentary combo is a winner. I know seeing the painting in B&W can be of assistance but I still feel there is something to be said for "It feels right- it looks right." Im not a fan of overthinking edges and values. It is good to look at this, but I cetrtainly would not let it dictate my strokes or style of intuition as to what I'm saying in the painting.

08-07-2009, 03:38 PM
Kenny, Corby, Aspenman: Thank you for your encouragement. A pat on the back always feels good. Myrna