A Portrait Background

SG2016 Step 15

The four blobs above #1 are my mixtures for the background. All are made of various proportions of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Ultramarine Blue + Ivory Black + a touch of Pthalo Blue + White. The other mixes are testing for some of the clothing. I want the clothes to be rich and intense, but need to make sure they work well with my background color. Don’t want any grinding clashes that will jar the senses! #2. Virdian Green + a little Pthalo Blue + White. #3. Pthalo Blue + White. #4. Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light. These make a pleasing combination, they may vary a bit when I begin painting the actual clothing but this gives me a plan.


VIDEO! The background is made very simple, I don’t want it to drag the viewer’s attention away from our main subject, the Risdalls! Since the light is coming into the portrait from the upper left that side is made darker. This way the light on the faces will be highlighted. Moving across the canvas to the right the background becomes lighter in order to accentuate their shadow side.

ANOTHER VIDEO! A Bob Ross Blending Brush is used to smooth the background.

SG2016 Step 16

While the background is still fresh I pull strands of hair into the wet paint. This is much easier to do at this stage and gives a softness to the edges of the hair.

SG2016 Step 17

The wash drawing is completely dry. This makes it easy to “Erase” any background color that went astray. All I have to do is take a clean brush dipped in paint thinner and wipe off the excess paint! You can see this better if you’ll enlarge the image, just click on the picture.

SG2016 Step 18

And…we have our background. Thank you for following along. I’ll begin on the portraits in our next session. Big Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


One Response to “A Portrait Background”

  1. Gonny Says:

    Fabuleus !Love following along Big hug Gonny

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