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.
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.
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.
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.
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:-)
Comments as usual most welcome!