When a Background Fails

Tulips - Watercolor on Bockingford - A4
Tulips – Watercolor on Bockingford – A4

Here are some tulips I painted over the weekend.  This is from the same book in my previous post.  There was a drawing for it, but no instructions – just a note on some colors used and that masking fluid was used for the white areas.  I reduced the drawing from A3 to A4, took out some leaves in the left part of the drawing, didn’t use any masking fluid, and gave it a bash.  I was quite happy with it until I started the background.  I can’t for the life of me work out what went wrong, but I couldn’t get the background to work.  I found that really disappointing as the previous two paintings I made the week before came out fine.  I will most likely try this again, and do something different with the background.


8 thoughts on “When a Background Fails

  1. Backgrounds can be done one of two ways – after or before. They can also be wet in wet or dry on wet. All of that effects the outcome. For a solid background, a single wash after the flowers are painted would require some masking or careful and fast hand work applying the wash to avoid lines, etc. From what I read, see and experienced, it’s good to have a plan for the background from the get go. You can now Google watercolor backgrounds and learn more on the subject and before long, you will have that nailed. This in total looks pretty darn amazing. You’re really making a lot of progress!

    1. Arlene

      Hi Cynthia, I used permanent rose starting very diluted and building up layers to straight from the pot! Only used 3 colors for the whole painting. Leaves were winsor blue and green gold.

    1. Arlene

      Thanks Deb! The background is supposed to have dark areas, but the wet in wet didn’t work out as expected. It is hard to explain but I noticed the difference compared to the others I did and it didn’t feel right. Does that make sense ? Like not enough water on the brush.

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