Friday, August 17, 2012

Crimson Floral

oil 20x16 inches Click to Purchase This larger painting became quite a learning experience to put it mildly. I was done with the painting before it was done, if you know what I mean! Bigger brushes and piles of paint was the easy part. I guess I need to develop a longer attention span. :-) Below are the various steps I took to get a background I liked.
Here the dull color doesn't enhance the painting, and the drapery folds are a distraction. Yuk. I carefully wiped it off, and retoned the wiped areas.
Simpler design and the color enhances the flowers better, but now it seems unbalanced and the background seems too close to the vase.
I clipped a flower and added it for balance. Then I pushed back the division of surface and background. (See finished, at top.) I could have avoided all this if I'd taken more time with the background in the beginning. I find it irritatingly amusing that I can paint objects, but have a hard time with backgrounds! I'm open to suggestions if anybody has some. Thanks, everyone who commented on the last post.


  1. What a great job you did working through this. Adding the cut flower made a big difference in balancing the composition. I love how you added pink to the background. It's lovely.

  2. Wow, what a beautiful painting, Karen! Thanks for showing the changes the background went through- you made good decisions.

  3. Thanks again for sharing.:) I think you made excellent choices along the way and the changes you made worked out perfectly. The final version is really beautiful!

  4. Beautiful piece and wonderful choices to make it so. Thanks for sharing your thought processes. I am SO with you on painting backgrounds on big pieces. If the background is off so is the painting. Lovely!!

  5. This is great - I loved seeing your progress and knowing I am not the only one who has to make changes along the way.
    The end result is gorgeous!

  6. wow! You really took control and made this a very beautiful painting. Love it. I always feel hopeless with backgrounds, you were able to pull it all in to achieve what you wanted.

  7. This is beautiful and it's fascinating to 'hear' your voice in the process. In just looking at the finished piece, I would have to say...she makes it looks so easy! lol

  8. Back and forth, back and forth, that is what my teacher keeps telling me :)
    What he means is not to keep the background until the rest of the painting is done, but developing the background along with your subject. Usually, perhaps the main subject is more of a problem for the average painter than the background. In that case the background can be a nice and easy alternative thing to work on, to get the mind off the subject for a while (and relax again).
    I think in your case it can work just as well by reversing it. Your subject, at which you feel comfortable painting, can be a nice diversion from painting the background. So after the first composition layin, try starting with the background and when you're tired of it or feel stressed about it, continue on the main subject. Then go back to the background for a while, etc.

    In any case, the painting above looks beautiful, so you won this struggle!

  9. Johan, Thank you so very much for your advice. It makes a lot of sense and I will give it a try. Thank you.


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