Painting Your Own Background
By Ed Chop
Making your own backgrounds is not that difficult. First, you'll need a material to paint on. Muslin and canvas are two favorite materials. You can get canvas from a supplier of display materi- als, theatrical materials, or art supplies. Muslin can be found at fabric shops. Get the widest available that you need. Look for used items like boat covers, awnings and large draperies at garage sales and in want ads. Garage sales can be a great source for background material. Look around and think of background possibilities.
If you are using canvas, you will need a primer base coat before you begin to paint colors. If the canvas you acquired is not already primed, you can buy a gallon or so at an art supply shop. Brush on both sides and you can make two backgrounds on one piece. You can use just about any type of paint you have around or that can be bought cheaply. Thinned latex works good and can be found you in a wide variety of colors. Even custom colors can easily be mixed for .
Brush, roll, dab, smear, spray or squirt your paint onto the canvas to achieve the effect you want. Paint can be applied with brushes, sponges, crumpled newspapers, rags, various textured rollers, spray bottles and anything else that you think may work. Experiment with different tools and techniques. For example, use a sponge or crumpled newspaper to dab the paint. Practice on cardboard if you wish. Try different things and note the effects.
If you are using muslin, you may want to dye the fabric with a fabric dye first. Spatter or dab paint over the muslin for the desired effect.
For a classic portrait background, start painting with a light color in the center. Gradually change to darker shades as you paint away from the center.
Try different types of paints for different looks. Try different materials, even seamless. Your backgrounds can be as varied as your imagination allows. Experiment and have fun.
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Copyright © 1998 Edward Chop. All Rights Reserved.
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