View Full Version : Choosing the color/temperature of the ground

11-15-2009, 03:15 PM
I am returning to art after a few years hiatus and am a little overwhelmed trying make the right choices to achieve the look I want. I am attempting a portrait of a Belgian Tervuren who is fawn/blonde color with a bit of black. I want the final painting to have a glow of warmth since the dog recently passed away but I also want the dog to pop and I am struggling with how best to get that.

So I am wondering, how do you go about choosing your ground color or underpainting color and why? For a warm colored subject would you choose a cool ground color or warm, a complementary color or local color? What effects would you expect with the different options? Thanks for any insight and or suggestions!

11-15-2009, 03:52 PM
Hi, Welcome back!

Mmmm... I'd go with cool and blurry bg, but if you show a bit of ground where the dog is sitting/standing/lying, I'd make that coolish but warmer. Personally, I'd stay away from icy blues. Muted greyed violet would pop the blond.


Deborah Secor
11-15-2009, 04:59 PM
I would think a cooler color might feature your Turveren nicely, but whether a blue, green or lavender is up to you, and may be dependent on the actual tone of the coat. I'd put blue with gold, lavender behind yellower tones, and perhaps choose green if the dog was an active outdoors type. Of course, a bit of all three might be useful for background colors. However, the actual ground color can be such an important influence throughout the painting process!