Over the Artist's Shoulder Behind the Scenes
Painting Air Magic from the Natural Magic Collection - Part 3
Why Paint the Background First?
What is the "background" of a painting?
A painting's background is the part of the painting that is furthest back in space. In other words, it is the back of a painting. Imagine this: if you were actually in the world of the painting, the background is the area in space that is the greatest distance away from where you are standing.
When painting, I usually first lay in a bit of color in key areas to set the overall color mood. This practice also serves to help me better envision the finished artwork. You can see a bit of that here in the figure's clothing and hair. As soon as that is done, I get to work on painting the background. At this stage, my goal is to get the background as finished as possible.
Why does the background get finished first?
- Painting the background first establishes the mood and lighting atmosphere of the artwork.
- Once the background is dry, I can overlap elements, such as the figure's hair and clothing, with out having to worry about what is behind them in the painting, because those key pieces of the composition are already in place.
- It establishes a hierarchy of importance. As the artist moves "forward" through the painting the individual components, like the face and hands, get more and more detailed because they are closer to the you, the viewer.
Oil painting is a creative process, each step in the painting process grows into the next.
Stay tuned for the last behind the scenes sneak peek of the making of Air Magic in Part 4.
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Did you miss the previous sneak peeks?