Tip File: No-Fuss Backgrounds

From Jason Tan’s letter to the editor in a previous issue of The Artist’s Magazine:

Handy Tip: No-fuss Backgrounds
I use a variety of tools from my kitchen to create interesting textures for the backgrounds of my paintings. Here are a few ideas:
• Kitchen sponge – mossy rocks and trees.
• Cellophane paper – tree bark and rocky texture.

To paint a rock using cellophane paper and acrylic:
1. Apply a coat of your base color mixed with retarder to the rock.
2. Crush some cellophane paper and quickly press it onto the rock. Roll it around so that the crushed texture of the paper is transferred onto the rock’s surface.
3. Let dry, and then wash in shade and tint colors to give the rock added volume. By now the rock should be quite realistic looking.
4. Glaze the rock with the actual color (brown for earthy rock or gray for metallic rock).
5. Finally, finish by adding highlights and darks, and additional features like moss (using the sponge) or cracks.

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