|'Winter Peace' 5x7 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
I have some thoughts on the background dilemma. First let me share what went through my mind as I painted this chickadee. I have painted from this reference several times. I love it but I always challenge myself to do it differently when I revisit it. That is done easily by changing the background.
For this version I decided it would be a somewhat moody, foggy and snowy day. I wanted to hint at the tangle of branches so I used very light and muted colors. I actually painted the bird first but kept the colors I used in the bird on my tray so I could reuse them in the background. I did have to go back and refine my bird. The berries were added last to help frame the bird.
- Plan the background right from the start. Don't wait until the subject is finished and perfect before adding background or you risk having your subject look disconnected or pasted onto the background. I usually block in the subject and then start the background.
- Use some of the same pastels in both the subject and the background. this helps create color harmony. Consider using different values of the colors.
- If the subject is complex or busy use a simple background.
- Try to suggest or hint at 'stuff' in the background rather than painting too much detail. Remember we love mystery so leave something to our imagination!
Tomorrow I will share another Chickadee painting...a fun experiment!