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Old 02-25-2008, 07:23 PM
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bkcwc bkcwc is offline
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help with background please?

I was wondering if anyone had any grand ideas for a water/lake background for this? I love this pic of my little friend Roo but when we snapped it I wasn't thinking ahead! As you can see she was at the beach and I haven't done enough outdoor type stuff to be comfortable starting this without a good plan! So if anyone can help I would really be greatful!
Thanks

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Old 02-26-2008, 10:36 AM
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Re: help with background please?

I am absolutely the world's worst at backgrounds... but a lake would be beautiful- nice aqua colors... the baby is just totally adorable!!!
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:16 AM
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Re: help with background please?


Well here is were I went with this so far. For some reason it really shows up more yellow (cheap scanner) oh well. And It didn't quite get all of it in-but as I add I will try to post-because I would really like to improve on this and I have seen some incredible work here soooo lol as scary as it is to get involved here I go! Thanks for looking and any help is great!
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:50 AM
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Re: help with background please?


Darn this didn't show quite as well as I wanted but it's coming along-Thanks for lookin!
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:00 PM
JPainter JPainter is offline
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Re: help with background please?

Oooo, this is tough. If it were me, I'd make the background very loose and implied. The water idea is good. What about the lapping edge of an ocean or lake where the mid-arm area is? Have you done a preliminary sketch? I would start there...just small, loose sketches with different background ideas. Sometimes one just jumps out at you. I wish I was more help...backgrounds are the hardest part for me.

Good luck!

Jill
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:04 PM
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Re: help with background please?

Gosh I don't know, been working on it this morning and so far quite happy with no background! lol cowards way out! will try to post more as I go-starting to add shadows in blue now around left side of face and neck
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Old 02-26-2008, 01:49 PM
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Re: help with background please?

Hi bkcwc (sorry I dont know your first name)

I hope you don't mind if i give you a little bit of advice on the actual portrait - when I have a photo that is in so much shadow I lighten it greatly which gives a clearer picture.

I have lightened your ref pic (hope you don't mind) and pointed out on it a couple of things that you may want to adjust.

You can see where the eye nearest to you isn't as open as shown in your painting - also the mouth is more open and the nose more rounded.

Hope you are not offended - just wanted to give you a bit of help.

Pat



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Old 02-26-2008, 02:00 PM
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Re: help with background please?

awesome! No I don't mind!That little tweak gives much more! Name is Barb and thanks sooo much! I am really new and all self taught so ALL help is welcome and so necesary to the learning process! I will post corrections soon-Thanks Pat
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Old 02-26-2008, 02:48 PM
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Re: help with background please?


Somehow she's starting to look like one of us has had to much to drink lol
Now what do I do? I think I maybe added the wrong colors too dark too soon-I'm going to get out for some fresh air and hope she sobers up while i am gone-any and all comments welcome and thanks for your time I really think everyone on here is so talented it's daunting to post but good to have the opportunity to paint again! I hope to get the hang of this watercolor thing so bear with me!
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Old 02-26-2008, 08:47 PM
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Re: help with background please?

Hi Barb - amazing the difference a few tweaks can make - now you need to look at the curve of the cheek nearest to you - you have it rounding out but if you look at the enhanced photo you will see that it is more of an elongated line with a little kink in it.

Pat
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:53 PM
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Re: help with background please?

Barb -- Pat has given you some good pointers and she has a good eye.
I think you'll find the corrections quite difficult however. Take it from me ........ I'm noted for making corrections all the time.

My suggestion for now would be to concentrate on the background on this piece of paper so that you'll have a better idea for starting over. (Something we all have to get used to doing.)
Dampen the whole BG all around little Roo with clear water. Then, with colours you think appropriate (mixed quite strongly ahead of time), pump them into various areas and let them blend themselves. Perhaps some blues at the top, sea greens in the middle, and maybe some weak burnt sienna at the very bottom (your choice of course). Leave some of the areas white and the colours will work their way in as it dries. As long as it is all still wet you can add more paint .... but don't scrub or mix. The less touching the better! It's best if the colours blend thenmselves gradually but still maintain their original hue in places. (Some people like to add bits of clear water to the odd place to get some neat effects but that will come with experience and confidence.) Let dry thoroughly. If it dries too light (which is usually the case) you may have to rewet the whole area and drop in more of the same colours in the same places. Best if you don't have to do that though. Get lots of colour in there the first time ..... and keep in mind they always dry lighter.
You'll end up with a pleasing BG with a minimum of work. Do it right and you'll get the impression of a beach scene where the BG is out of focus. But if it doesn't look like a beach, don't worry about it. You'll be thrilled you have a great looking BG done already.

When you feel confident enough to try the painting again, print off a copy of the photo, correctly sized to your watercolour paper. Rub lots of graphite pencil all over the back of it to create a carbon paper. (You can get jumbo sticks of graphite at the art stores and save on the pencils.) Tape it to your watercolour paper and trace Roo's features with a ball-point pen so the graphite transfers to the wc paper. Do your BG as above and then concentrate on your painting of Roo. Remember the things Pat told you.

Hope this all makes sense.

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Old 02-27-2008, 08:25 PM
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Re: help with background please?

wow! this is incredible! i love the ideas and i was thinkin that i should start this over with a better plan next time so i am going to try to do that background the way you said first to kind of see how the process goes and then maybe try it on some throw away paper too. I really can't say thank you enough for being so kind as to give a newbie the chance learn from your experience. Brian i do have one question- what type of brush would you suggest? for the bg you suggested - I have about 75-100 to choose from (got a gold mine at a garage sale last year) and I am not too familiar with most except the rounds. and then I shall leave ya'll alone from my questions and go paint. lol oh and I am going to print out the advice and take it to the paint table with me! thank you again
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:42 PM
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Re: help with background please?

Looking forward to seeing the end result Barb

Pat
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:52 PM
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Re: help with background please?

Brushes are more of a personal preference. I have quite a few but seem to keep gravitating back to the old standbys. Which one really depends on the paper size and the accuracy needed. To answer your question I'd probably reach for my slant-shader (see this thread about brush types). It allows me to get in tight and still see what I'm doing while making broad strokes.
What a bonanza finding all those brushes at a garage sale! My father-in-law is always watching to find good ones for me .... but never fails to show up holding a fist full of cheap, low quality ones. No Kolinskys yet!

Good luck!

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Old 02-28-2008, 05:29 AM
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Re: help with background please?

Quote:
maybe try it on some throw away paper too

That will only tell you what to expect on throw-away paper, it doesn't necessarily translate when you try it on your good paper.

Good luck with your next go at this lovely portrait. You've had some excellent advice from Pat and Brian.

Sylvia
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