Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Figures and Backgrounds

Backgrounds and foregrounds are always a problem for the watercolorist.  How much detail to include or exclude.  Should the background be dark or light?  Making those decisions before beginning to paint is an important starting point.

                             "The Cast"

In this painting of a trout fisherman on his favorite stream,  I wanted the fisherman to really stand out, so I decided to make the figure light against a dark background for the most dramatic effect.  I also wanted the viewer to concentrate on the figure, so I provided no details or texture in the dark background.  It isn't a solid mass, but certainly any suggestion of rocks or trees has been eliminated.
The foreground rocks and stream are necessary to give context and setting.  Most of the action centers around the fly fisherman's cast. 

This painting was a gift from the faculty of the high school where I taught for 19 years to the principal upon the occasion of his retirement.  A couple of years before, he had given me a refresher course and loaned me his rod for a spring break trip to Arkansas.  So it was appropriate on a personal and professional level.  Consider giving a painting related to someone's hobby.

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