View Full Version : Paper Color

01-21-2003, 05:04 PM
How do you decide what color paper (or other ground) to use?

I have urges to be crazy and use purple paper on a portrait or orange for a landscape...

Does complimentary versus a color which occurs in the scene make the difference?

How do YOU decide?


01-21-2003, 05:50 PM
I'm doing a landscape on scumbled red and orange right now. It's quite bright with the orange showing through the tooth, and I'm not sure about how it effects the water. Will post it soon.
I would follow those urges. But then I'll try anything just to see what happens. A few times the result has been ghastly, but I have had successes with bright colored paper as well.

01-21-2003, 06:53 PM
I like to use deeper brighter colors for backgrounds (as most of you know!) But I do consider a couple of things when I'm choosing a colored background. First, what is the overall dominant color in the composition, ...if its a summer landscape, then green/blue/yellow is going to be very dominant. I'll choose a color that is complementary or triadic with those colors...like bright red to violet. In the fall, my color schemes turned to golden, orange, green settings and my background choices turned to turquoise to royal blue...again a complement color scheme.

However, sometimes I want to create an atmosphere in a painting....one afternoon I chose a rich golden brown Canson to paint a field scene. It's one of my favorite paintings with an overall warm glowing feel.

One of the reasons I like a colored background is the way it gives you a color harmony thruout the painting. Unless you do a lot of blending to hide all the background, tiny glints of that color will pop out thru other colors....this means that the background effects the overall image.

One thing I learned while painting with oils, a white background is really difficult to work with when you put down your first darks and lights...it tends to make darks darker...and lights lighter! Covering the white is the first thing I try to accomplish on location.

I've also been told that beginning with a medium value background helps to establish the darks and lights....so whatever color I choose, I don't want the darkest or the lightest. But that's just me....I see some of you working on black and getting some fantastic results....but my work on black was blah! LOL

I would recommend experimenting with smaller sizes....like 5x7 to see how you like certain colors with a color scheme....then go for it!

01-21-2003, 08:52 PM
I just let the paper call to me:D:D:D LOL I have no method to my madness!!
I do though prefer Blue for my portraits, I can just work better on that color with skin tones!!
I feel the same as Carly on White canvas cover it up ASAP!! I prefer color to plain white!

01-21-2003, 09:04 PM


sundiver..an adventurer:D

Carly...you are so amazing...I have printed out so many of your replies, hoping some day to understand....like someday, if I live long enough, I can grow up to be a real artist like Carly.....:angel:

So that yellow paper I chose for the SUmmer landscape was a BAD idea.....well, I thought so when I tried to make a blue sky....:rolleyes:

Reds...thanks...I found when I first got these soft toys, that white paper needed a watercolor wash...yup...that helped