Why You Shouldn’t Forget the Background!

One of the most common mistakes beginner learners make when they start drawing and painting is forgetting about the background.  I see a lot of ‘floating’ jars of flowers, pots, vases and figures in the beginner classes.  The background should not be forgotten.  I will explain why:

Part of the Story

The background puts the subject in context and can ‘tell the story’ of what is happening.  For example if a figure is sitting on a sofa we know why their posture is a certain way, it would be different if they were sat on an upright chair for example.

There is useful tonal  information in the background which can help bring depth and tonal value to the subject.  Shadows are important for telling the observer that the subject is three dimensional and will tell us more about the lighting conditions.

Simple backgrounds are better than none.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Brush Care

By looking after your brushes they will last a lot longer.  Good brushes are fairly expensive so it makes sense to get into good habits and look after them.  Follow these dos and don’ts to look after your brushes:

Don’t 

Don’t let paint dry on the brush

Particularly acrylic paint, which is so fast drying.  This can happen very quickly, the paint on the outside layer starts drying out, particularly on the ferrule (the segment of the brush that connects the bristles to the handle).  Once paint dries on the ferrule it tends to stop the flexibility of the bristles.

Don’t overload the brush with paint

You should try to avoid this for the same reason as the one above, if you overload the brush with paint it will cover the ferrule.  Paint can be hard to remove once partially dry from the join where the ferrule and bristles meet.  Once dry paint builds up in this join the brush becomes less flexible.

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