buildings_01Backgrounds add depth to the painting and transform the two dimensional surface into “3-D”. Here is one approach to painting in backgrounds without any reference. Once you have your drawing established, several transparent washes of acrylic paint. Any color will work, I chose purple for this picture. Let it dry between coats and I usually go over it about three times. I don’t use white paint, just use water for transparent washes. Now looking at step two you may ask, “hey, why do this, you’re just covering it up anyway in the next step?” Your’e right, buuuuuut, that purple will still show through (or whatever color is used) throughout the entire picture and bring harmony as well as add a depth and richness to the color.

buildings_02 Step 2 is still an acrylic phase, but it’s using the local color of the objects and blocking in, without worrying about detail or texture.The purple is allowed to peek through in the deep shadow areas.

buildings_03Step 3 is the oil painting phase, where darks are punched in, texture is added, and lights and that wraps up the background! You can see in the final painting the background really gives the picture depth.

About the Author Kyle

Kyle Douglas Henry (born 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an american illustrator. He works in a realistic manner, usually in oils, in the tradition of the illustrators of the early 20th century. His work is characterized by strong, dramatic lighting and mood and visual story telling. Henry studied art at Pensacola Christian College under Brian Jekel, receiving a BS in Commercial Art in 1998. It was while in college, he worked as an illustrator for A Beka Book. Henry has completed illustrations for companies such as DaySpring Cards, Dicksons Gifts, Anchor Wallace, Barbour Books, JourneyForth Press, Howard Books, and Moonstone Books. His art is in the private collection of notables such as Kansas City Royals owner, David Glass.

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