Before I get to the tips, here is the finished version of Tulie, our schnauzer mix who has captivated our hearts. After having medium to large dogs, this little 12 pound dog has made me love lap dogs. She has such personality and quirks, and she is so cuddly. You can see the before version (and some in process photos from sketch to painting) at this post. Now she has a background and the right side of the portrait has darker tones showing the light coming in from the left.
I used a clear sheet of acetate to figure out what colors I wanted in the background. I tried out the dark blues and the siennas, and then decided to mix them in a wet in wet flow of colors.
Acetate is a really cool tool. I read about it in The Watercolor Fix-It Book (vanHasselt and Wagner) a book I’ve mentioned before. I got it at an art supply place for under $4, and found out that there are several types, so you want to ask for “acetate for wet media”. It came in a 20″ x 25″ sheet with a white protective tissue wrapper and it can be used over and over.
I’ve included two examples here as a demonstration. The one on the left shows a rather garish purple (for this color scheme) that I tried over the top of a blossom to see how it would look to darken shadows, and then a more appropriate perylene maroon. The pigments should be more of a cream consistency to stay in place on the acetate, but it all wipes off very easily with a wet paper towel. I can see this coming in handy in lots of different ways.