Whilst I do not consider myself to be an artist, over the last few days I have tried to add a painted back scene to Modbury. The medium I have elected to use are acrylic paints, and unfortunately I have to report that I have been somewhat unsuccessful so far!!
The whole back scene was covered in a sky to start with and was painted pretty quickly with white emulsion and Cerulean Blue acrylic paint. Because the complete back scene is about 9' long, I had to paint the sky in sections of about 2'- 3' at a time as the paint dried out to much otherwise. A portion of the back scene was painted top to bottom in white emulsion, then a (relatively) small amount of blue was quickly brushed on at the top of this section and blended down to baseboard level and the white blended back up. The process being repeated on the next section along, also blending into the previously painted section to avoid any step change in colour. I was going to put some clouds into the sky and did some practicing on a piece of lining paper that had been given the same graduated sky, but in the end decided that I quite liked the graduated blue as it is.
Because I have never painted anything using acrylics before, I thought that it would make sense to get some advice from someone who has, and also done so very effectively, so a request was made to John Birkett-Smith (of Ashburton & Totnes fame) as to what colours to use. John was extremely generous by coming back with far more than a simple list of suggested colours, providing some much needed tips and directions on how to do it too.
Before I could begin adding any colour, a basic background was sketched in in pencil showing what I hoped would look a little like the rolling hills of South Devon. To a certain degree that was the easy part!
The next stage was to then start adding colour. Some suitable "distant greens" were mixed up and the more distant fields painted. Once dried however, I felt that the colours had dried to a very muddy looking green and were not at all what I wanted :
Once this had dried, again I felt that it didn't look right.
The whole lot was then left for a day or two so that I could look at it and better gauge the effect that I had achieved. What it revealed was several problems :
- The embankment end fields were in my eyes too blue (although the photo above doesn't really show it).
- The bridge end fields were too green.
- The contrast between the shade and non-shade parts of the woodland on both ends was (in both natural and layout lighting conditions) almost non-existent. (The dark wasn't dark enough or the light was too dark)
- The road seemed to go around a bend and just end in a field somewhere!
- Worst of all I think I had painted everything too small - everything painted looked incredibly distant, especially when a full sized 3D tree was positioned in front of it. Effectively, what I had painted could not really be reconciled with what will be modelled in 3D.
The upshot of all this is that the painted fields, etc have received a couple of coats of white to try to eradicate them in readiness for yet another attempt!