5

Assumption: I have painted a bird with water colours. Now I want to colour the background green.

I will start painting from the edges of the bird's body and take my strokes outwards. My problem with this approach is that the brush stroke directions will be visible. Also, if I get too close to the bird's body, I fear some colour will get on the bird as well.

Moreover in the following painting, the painter has used different colours for the background, yet no strokes are visible!

What is the technique to achieve such result?

Does the kind of paint make a difference here?

Am I supposed to first paint the background, then paint the bird?

http://www.jesuspaintings.com/bluebird_of_happiness.htm

enter image description here

  • I don't think painting over the background is a viable method when using watercolors. – leigero Apr 29 '16 at 13:33
  • The reference work looks like it is brush painted over an airbrushed background after it has dried. The acrylic is opaque and can be worked that way. (Alternately it could have been painted digitally and then ink jet printed on the board and the foreground background layering done digitally.) – rebusB Nov 22 '16 at 21:38
8

The paint does make a difference in whether or not you can easily paint over the background.

Watercolor, for example, does not easily cover other art and you would need to use a different technique for the background if you used this medium. Most other paints (like acrylics or oil) are thick enough that you can easily paint over the background without any effort.

Thicker paints

With thicker paints you should paint the background of the image, get it as you like it, and then paint your subject over the top.

This has the down-side of not being very forgiving should you make mistakes to your main subject, fixing the background after touch-ups will be challenging.

Thinner mediums

With thinner mediums like Watercolor you would want to paint them independent of each other and not overlap them. I, personally, would paint the subject first and then follow with a watercolor background.

With watercolor you can use a common technique where you apply water to the paper before using any color. Carefully outline the dry subject with a wet brush and once the paper is wet, carefully apply your color.

The water will pull the color out of the brush and disperse it to the wet areas neatly without spillage. If you make a mistake with the wet brush, simply let it dry and try again before applying color.

6

You could try applying a frisket to the bird and flowers first (to isolate and protect your lighter more detailed areas) before beginning painting your background. Once your background color/colors have dried you can remove the frisket from the next area you want to paint by rubbing with an eraser. You can remove as much or as little frisket as you need to paint the next area (to isolate the following color) or remove it entirely (so colors can blend) before proceeding with the bird and flower areas.

  • Liquid mask is typically used as a frisket for water-colors. It is liquid latex and you paint it over the areas you want to preserve and it then peals off after the paint is dry. It works better on unpainted paper though so in the future you would want to reverse your process, mask the foreground paint the background, remove the mask and paint the foreground. – rebusB Nov 22 '16 at 21:47
2

If I were planning to paint the above Blue Bird on an blossomed Apple branch, I'd lightly, but exactly draw the outline of the bird and branch then apply rubber cement to the body of the bird and branch, going right to the pencil lines. Then I'd take an air brush or similar tool to apply the back ground color. When the bkgnd. is dry, peel off the rubber cement in the body of the picture then apply rubber cement to the bkgnd, right up to the image. Now paint the image.

If you are using water colors, look into water color pencils, they will allow you to apply detailed accents in color and, with a little water, blend into the work.

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