Backgrounds 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.
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.
Step 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.