"Old man enjoying St Martin's summer"I've begun to understand these critical things in my "hands" holding brushes. The point is the construction of value and its balance in whole work. The same is true of colours. I know, you may say, "I've heard it in other famous artists quotes." But I'm not a type to just repeat other artists' advice or theories straightforward. Until I can get why in my own hands and a heart, I cannot do it. Hahaha, you see my brain is not a matter. Until my sense accepts it, I keep drawing and the hands think of why in my own work. I need to digest other people's methods and pick up something, if it's beneficial to me. A surface understanding is not understanding for me. Once, my hands get it, I can do it at anytime and at anywhere in my own way. Now, I feel my hands getting something in creating a background. In other words, it's "design" of work.
What do you do with a background? Do you work on it first or later or in parallel to a subject? I do all ways and it depends on my art work's expected result. In creating the firstly uploaded image, I painted the old man first at a market and added a background in a studio. My eyes tell me how to loose up a background to make a subject look good. I need to be more brave to play up in a background. (*but I celebrate my achievement!) Technically, I always enjoy washes = need thick papers. A4 Arche smooth 300gsm comes with me to anywhere in a backpack. A thin sketchbook paper does not please me any more. I use a sketchbook for black and white study and warm-up watercolour painting. Below, I sketched a gentleman on a sketchbook paper. Later, I felt like making a background for experiment. It did not work well, in my view, because of a thin paper (*I could not make washes well) and a poor value balance. Ever since, I go outside with thick Arche A4.
I'll explore the background of portraits. "Nulla dies sine linea."—"Not a day without a line drawn," said Appelles, a Greek painter (332–329 BC). Me, too. Drawing/watercolour painting always gives a new horizon and challenge. "Got something" means "Want to know more = early equal to know nothing or only a start," for me. Let me hear your story about creating backgrounds. In addition, we're in spring now. Light is so beautiful, which invites for watercolour painting outside with friends. Sydney Sketch Club members describe me as "the portrait lady." Unexpected and a great honour. I'll keep up. I'm getting lots of projects at once. Busy like a bee.
Friends, Happy Painting!