Saturday, July 25, 2020

Backdrop Painting - and some fancy art terms

I've added some additional color, highlights, and texture to the trees and fields in this section of backdrop. At this point I really need to move on from this - sometimes you can overdo a painting - and in trying to tweak just one more thing it quickly turns to "mud." 
In a response to an earlier comment, I mentioned the concept of "maniera lavata" - an Italian term for what is often called "underpainting." 
On my previous layout I tried painting the colorful fall trees first, but the resulting trees lacked depth. And when I'd try adding the darker colors as shadows on top of the colors the whole thing often got away from me. Too many colors on top of other colors resulting in a dark, dead, lifeless, mess. Lighter colors applied over the darker underpainting really helps solve his problem. 
The other issue I've had in the past is getting the tonal values and colors somewhat consistent across the backdrop. A solution to this issue is to pick a color palette and stick with it throughout. I'm using eight colors on the backdrop - which seems like a lot, but that includes a couple of grays, two greens, and the base scenery and sky colors. Every color is mixed from some combination of those eight basic colors. 
Another key to avoiding an inconsistent look to the backdrop leads us to our second fancy Italian art term in this blog post, "Alla Prima." This translates to "at first attempt." It indicates an approach where a picture is completed by painting on the entire surface of the canvas all at one time, instead of fully completing a specific section, say a corner, of a painting before moving on to the next corner. Alla Prima results in pictures from the Impressionist school of painters. Okay, enough art lesson for today.  
In this case I'm not actually completing the entire painting in one step, so it's not truly alla prima, but I am completing all the underpainting, highlighting , etc.. of the backdrop one wall at a time, trying to keep the entire thing somewhat "loose."  

Here's the next section showing the initial underpainting:

The hills and fields are represent he shadow and branch structure of the trees,
 as well as the basis for the fields. I'm careful to leave some background sky
 color visible through the base coat of trees. A solid wall of dark brown will look like exactly that. For the fields, I add a base color of my scenery "tan" and then add streaks of burnt umber to create some highlights and shadows. 

1 comment:

TWForeman said...

I think your backdrops are looking great! Much better than I could do.