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Background Madness

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

I didn't realize until this painting how important the background is to a painting. And how it can really make or break the painting. This piece was really hard for me to finish.



Here is where it started...

I did the teapot and red cloth within the first 20 minutes of so. I was just putting in a place holder as I started thinking about the colors I would use. But then I liked the look so much that I just left them exactly like that and moved on to the two brass urns. Those two were much harder to figure out. My teacher said they need to have different hues so they don't match up and blend into each other. They needed to stand out as their own item. So I tried to distinguish their colors.


Then came the background. Teachers often say you should put in a background right away so you can get a feel for the painting and where you want to go. There were a bunch of different colored and textured draperies in the real background of the still life that was set up in class but I thought that would be too distracting so I did this.




I wanted it to have some variation and texture but not too much to distract from what I liked about the painting, which was the teapot and cloth. I didn't think the background worked so I tried it darker.



I hated this one...I was just too dark. So I tried something lighter.



I actually liked this at first but then as the week went on and I kept looking at it, I started to think it doesn't compliment my main focus and my favorite part of the painting, the teapot and cloth. Looking at it now, I think it did work with the other parts of the painting and maybe it was the right choice. But I scraped it and went to this...



I loved this background in terms of how it complimented the teapot and red cloth and it was in sync with the table. I worked more on the runes and really thought this was it, I was done!


But I came back after a week and realized it was just too much purple. It distracted from the painting. At this point I was so frustrated that I wanted to just give up and scrap the whole thing. I didn't like anything that was happening in the background. But with the support of my classmates and teacher, I tried one last thing...




Here is what I ended with. I think it was an OK compromise in terms of the colors. There was just too much going on and my effort to try and find the perfect color to compliment both the bottom of the painting and the two urges just wasn't successful. But I think it was better than the purple so I left it at that and moved on to my next painting.


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