Janice has sent me this beautiful painting and has asked for some advice on background colours.
I am sending you a painting I have just completed and am hoping you can help. Previously I have done botanical painting, using either watercolours or coloured pencil on smooth Arches 300gsm paper, and so have not had to worry about painting the background. I watched your video on background for the rosebud. Do you think I should include a coloured background on the painting below, and if so, what colours do you suggest?
Although putting a background on a picture as intricate as this might seem a daunting task, however once it has been completed it will transform the painting into a fantastic work of art.
What I would do is apply a generous application of 103 ivory to the whole background area making sure that the ivory is placed right up to the edge of the image, an ivory colour shaper would help with this task. Rub the ivory well into the pastel paper using you finger and use the colour shaper for those difficult to reach areas. Don’t be concerned if you touch the image this can be brought back later with sharp pencil once the background is complete.
From now on choose light to medium pastel pencil colours that will compliment you picture, I would avoid the dark tones altogether. I would use colours like 131, 184, 109 and 170 – these colours can be applied carefully a little at a time and rubbed into the ivory base until you complete the whole background. I would practice this technique on spare pastel paper first until you get used to applying the colours. Then before you start your background proper place you test piece against the image to see how it looks.
A word of warning, once this painting is complete Janice may never return to watercolour again the stunning effects that the pastel pencil will reveal would be very hard to measure up to with any other medium.