Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Painting in the Backgrounds

I spend a lot of time photographing and watching wildlife for my paintings but the backgrounds that I get with each photograph is not always suitable for a painting. So at the same time I'm always on the look out for background ideas.
Sometimes I'll see some blossom which I think would look perfect to perch a wren on, or I'll spot a rock that I think I could sit a perergrine on, or even some farm machinery for a barn owl.
When I see something suitable, I photograph it and then file it away in my studio ready to fit with a subject at a later date.
Last week was the perfect chance to find snowy backgrounds and so I headed off to the Derwent River to catch the mist coming off the water.
 I deliberately shot the photograph below of the reflections in the water out of focus, to give me a soft-coloured background.
And flipped upside down like this

I think it should make a good background for a flying barn owl, like this one in Barn Owl on the Lookout.

Although I usually paint from photographs, I painted this one straight out of my head after a day at Fair Burn Ings.


  1. Can I steal your background photos for my own use? That's a joke. I already have my own extensive collction of background photos, but I like yours better.

  2. Some really useful information about using blurred and soft backgrounds, I will try and remember that for the future. Thanks.

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