Jump to content
  • entries
    135
  • comments
    2,256
  • views
    192,784

Backscene painting, or dabbling with acrylics!


wenlock

2,193 views

I've been plucking up the courage to tackle my layout's backscene for well over a year now. Despite reading endless books on landscape painting and having a clear idea in my head off what I wanted to achieve, I was fairly convinced that I would produce the kind of landscape that the Teletubbies would feel at home in!

 

I wanted the layout to be set in a rural landscape of rolling hills, but didn't want the backscene to dominate the scene in any way. I toyed with the idea of using a commercial printed backscene, but as the rear of the layout is curved I could foresee problems fixing the background in place. The backscene is also more than 18 feet long and so the cost of a printed product would be prohibitive.

 

I decided there was no alternative but to bite the bullet and have a go at producing something, confident in the knowledge that if I made a real pigs ear of it, I could cover it over with some white emulsion!

 

I started by sketching some hills and fields onto backscene, making the size of the fields diminish towards the horizon in an attempt to impart a sense of perspective.

 

Pencil sketched hills
blogentry-5869-0-64514500-1472409358_thumb.jpg

 

Once I was happy with the shape of the hills, I used acrylic paints to block in the colour of each field. I tried to mix greens that were about the same shade as the static fibres used on the layout for the fields that lay immediately behind the hedges at the back of the layout.

 

Blocking in the first fields
blogentry-5869-0-47657200-1472409375_thumb.jpg
blogentry-5869-0-06400600-1472409394_thumb.jpg

 

In order to make the fields look as if they receed into the distance it's important to introduce what the books on landscape refer to as "atmospheric regression." What this appears to boil down to is the need to add progressively more blue and white to the green field colour the further towards the horizon you are painting.

 

Fields added with atmospheric regression
blogentry-5869-0-57453500-1472409411_thumb.jpg
blogentry-5869-0-45511900-1472409425_thumb.jpg
blogentry-5869-0-90372100-1472409445_thumb.jpg

 

Once I'd finished blocking in the colour of each field I mixed a darker green and painted in the hedgerows and trees that bordered the fields. Once again blue and white was progressively added towards the horizon.

 

Hedgerows and fields added to the landscape
blogentry-5869-0-59464000-1472409462_thumb.jpg
blogentry-5869-0-44778100-1472409477_thumb.jpg
blogentry-5869-0-76103300-1472409507_thumb.jpg

 

Although I approached backscene painting with a sense of trepidation, I'm really pleased that I finally got on with it! The layout looks much deeper than it did before and to my eye at least appears to frame the layout nicely. I might paint Sherton Abbey tower appearing behind the hedge near the stop blocks at the end of the layout as a way of suggesting the town that lays off scene.

 

I'll finish off this post with a picture of the 517 bringing in the morning goods:-)

 

Morning goods
blogentry-5869-0-65616200-1472409525_thumb.jpg

 

Comments as usual most welcome!

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

  • Like 21
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1

26 Comments


Recommended Comments



WOW!

I for one am really impressed. I think because you have the colours matching and blending to the scenery of the layout.

Link to comment

Dave, beautifully done!  The back scene really adds so much depth to the modelled scene.  You've certainly done a better job than I did with the Modbury back scene :-)

 

Regards.

Ian

Link to comment

It's just right, with the same feel and colour palette as the rest of the layout.  A sense of distance is now present, especially in the view of the receding fields behind the weighbridge hut.  Just a few quiet still clouds now to balance the sky to the landscape.... Looking forward to the Sherton Abbey tower blog entry!

Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

That's come along spendidly, Dave - I especially like the fact that the hills are quite low. Mine had to be higher to conceal various blemishes and shadows! You've done a fine job of it.

Link to comment

Time well spent I'm my opinion, correct use of colour blending into the model and not overstated, yep does it for me very well done.

Big pat on the back, very professional.

Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

Thanks all, I'm delighted you think it looks ok:-) I must admit I agonised over the whole thing, nearly chickened out and accepted just having a bit of sky blue mdf as a backscene.

 

I'll think about adding some clouds Paul, I don't want to push my luck!

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

Hi Dave, that's very nicely understated. As Al mentioned, I think the relatively low horizon is part of what makes this work.

 

I personally wouldn't add any more - in my opinion the more detail you put into the background, the more it distracts the eye. Plus, if the eye sees a detail it will also automatically start assessing whether it is correctly proprotioned etc.

Link to comment
Guest Simon Dunkley

Posted

Thank you for keeping the skyline relatively low: some backscenes tend to induce vertigo by simply going too high. (For me, Laxfield and Kenton both suffered from this, despite the fact that they were well painted.)

 

Edit: please, no clouds. How would you make them move and change?

Link to comment

Hi Dave, I'm definately in agreement with Mikkel and I wouldn't paint in any more detail and clouds either if you are in any doubt don't do it.

 

You could try a small reproduction of the backscene on a spare piece of board and if you possess an airbrush try using it to attain a lighter cloud effect maybe. Understated would be far better than the use of a brush and possibly overdo it.

 

 

Link to comment

As others have already said - I think that with backscenes, less is best!  The photos look excellent.

 

Mike

Link to comment
Guest Simon Dunkley

Posted

I take it that the cattle wagons are being worked in empty, ready for the next day's market?

(Not being coupled to the engine or a fitted head.)

Link to comment

Just a thought, and I really don't mean to detract from a really beautiful bit of work but I am a fussy and wonder if the field sizes might be a bit big for a pre- war scene before modern machinery made grubbing up hedgerows such a popular sport?

Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold

 

 

Hi Dave, that's very nicely understated. As Al mentioned, I think the relatively low horizon is part of what makes this work.
 
I personally wouldn't add any more - in my opinion the more detail you put into the background, the more it distracts the eye. Plus, if the eye sees a detail it will also automatically start assessing whether it is correctly proprotioned etc.


Thanks Mikkel! :-) I'm in complete agreement with you about the need to keep backgrounds understated. In my opinion back grounds need to stay where they should be and that is of course, in the background!
 

 

Thank you for keeping the skyline relatively low: some backscenes tend to induce vertigo by simply going too high. (For me, Laxfield and Kenton both suffered from this, despite the fact that they were well painted.)
Edit: please, no clouds. How would you make them move and change?

Hi Simon, glad you like the low lying hills :-) The layout is set in Wessex which certainly isn't a region known for its mountains, although the Quantocks can be seen in the distance! :-)  Although the photos don't show it too well the sky has a slight misty morning appearance. I achieved it quite by accident, but as I rather like it I'll be leaving well alone!
 

 

Hi Dave, I'm definately in agreement with Mikkel and I wouldn't paint in any more detail and clouds either if you are in any doubt don't do it.

You could try a small reproduction of the backscene on a spare piece of board and if you possess an airbrush try using it to attain a lighter cloud effect maybe. Understated would be far better than the use of a brush and possibly overdo it.

Thanks Grahame! :-) As I mentioned above, the sky has exactly the kind of light cloud effect that you mention. I used an airbrush to lighten the sky nearer the horizon and by more luck than design it's given quite a pleasing misty morning appearance:-)
 

 

As others have already said - I think that with backscenes, less is best!  The photos look excellent.
 
Mike

Thanks Mike, glad you like it! :-)
 

 

I take it that the cattle wagons are being worked in empty, ready for the next day's market?
(Not being coupled to the engine or a fitted head.)

Hi again Simon, yes you're quite right I took the pictures on a Sunday and indeed the market is held in Sherton Abbas on Monday mornings. Well deduced! :-)
 

 

Just a thought, and I really don't mean to detract from a really beautiful bit of work but I am a fussy ###### and wonder if the field sizes might be a bit big for a pre- war scene before modern machinery made grubbing up hedgerows such a popular sport?

Hi KH1, nothing wrong with being fussy it usual means doing things properly!:-)
The fields in the foreground are in all probability a bit large for the modelled period. I initially drew them smaller, but found as I worked towards the horizon the need to make the fields look as if they receded into the distance meant the ones on the horizon were no more than a centimetre long and it all looked a bit "over done" and contrived. Personally I prefer the look of the landscape as it is, but that's no guarantee that it's right! :-)

Best wishes to all

Dave

Link to comment

Dave, beautifully done!  The back scene really adds so much depth to the modelled scene.  You've certainly done a better job than I did with the Modbury back scene :-)

 

Regards.

Ian

Oh I'd beg to differ, Ian. Your own backscene has been done very nicely too. Slightly different style, but certainly to the same excellent quality as Dave's exquisite rendering.

Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
Oh I'd beg to differ, Ian. Your own backscene has been done very nicely too. Slightly different style, but certainly to the same excellent quality as Dave's exquisite rendering.

Completely agree! Well said Yorkshire!

 

 

Link to comment

Oh I'd beg to differ, Ian. Your own backscene has been done very nicely too. Slightly different style, but certainly to the same excellent quality as Dave's exquisite rendering.

Thank you Yorkshire & Dave (I couldn't quote Dave's reply as it is on a new page)!  I must admit that I tried to have my horizon line somewhat higher than Dave's as my line is supposedly running in a vale with a ridge line behind.

Ian

Link to comment

Looks wonderful. The colours look just right in the photos. When mine turn comes I have houses to include.

Link to comment
  • RMweb Gold
Looks wonderful. The colours look just right in the photos. When mine turn comes I have houses to include.

 

Hi Pete, glad you like it:-) Good luck with the houses, getting those to look right is going to be a real challenge! All I can suggest is keeping everything muted and not trying to draw in every letterbox!:-)

 

Best wishes

 

Dave

Link to comment

Lovely job Dave it really sets the layout off. Martin Brent advised me to kept details hazy on backscenes. Too much detail draws the eye to the backscene. This is one of the concerns with photographic backscenes. It is funny how changing the rate at which the colours weaken and shift towards blues and purples pushes the distant hills near or far.  The low hills look much better when you get down to look at eye level. Only near hills will be above the horizon. The hills in this view taken at about 60m are about 400m, higher than the nearby quantocks

post-8525-0-83464200-1456508908_thumb.jpg.
Incidentally the Quantocks are very colourful at the moment with the Purple Heather and the Yellow of the Western Gorse

This is a really delightful layout.

Don

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.