Portrait Backgrounds That Do Not Work
|Backgrounds to a Portrait|
Selecting a background colour that is slightly different to the portrait sitter’s clothes, hair or skin, such as pink and red; orange and pink or purple and blue causing unwanted conflict between two colours.
Using a flat colour and over-smoothing the paint over the background as though emulsioning a bedroom wall until it has a uniform quality without any life.
Guess-working how a sitter’s shadow may look is it falls on a wall behind the figure, resulting in an ugly dark patch behind the portrait.
Great Backgrounds for Portraits
Think about the background to the portrait before embarking on the portrait painting. One of several approaches can be tried.
A photograph that has lots of elements in the background can easily be edited by cutting. Simple is often more effective. A corner of a window, a splash of oblique sunlight on the wall or part of a lamp gives some context to the portrait and add atmosphere.
Featuring a complimentary colour or hue within the background to the sitter can be effective. Smoky blue, cool brown or forest green will bring out the warm flesh tones of a pale person. Cream, china blue or cool mauves will compliment Asian skin tones. Consider the colours of clothing in similar fashion.