What Do I Do With The Background?
- Most Frequently Asked Question
- Easiest Way To Vastly Improve Your Painting
1. Value - Light, Medium or Dark - Pick the value that makes your subject stand out.
White - Just leaving a white background works well for many watercolor subjects.
Light - Hint of Color - Wet your background and drop in some of the colors you used for your subject. Let them mix on the paper for nice blends. Don't make the background such an intense pure color (like bright blue) that it competes with the subject - keep it toned down with a little mixing.
Medium - THE MOST INEFFECTIVE AND BORING Typically you want your background lighter or darker for more contrast.
Dark - (See below for a list of dark colors). Effective for most light and medium value subjects.
What comes first, the subject or the background?
When I'm planning a dark background, I start with a light or medium wash of color and put my dark background in last. Why? Because I'm sloppy and drips of water land on my nice dark background and cause unsightly spots. Plus, having the first layer of color underneath the dark helps build good color saturation and dark value.
Here is a Bunny with a light background and
the exact same Bunny with a dark background. Add drama with a dark background.