Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Add Detail to the Foreground of your Picture

This posting is about one technique for adding detail to your painting. It is not something I use a lot, with acrylic paints you can easily paint over any details you want. However it is always good to be aware of painting options for achieving a particular result.

How to Add Detail to the Foreground of your Picture

Adding extra detail to the foreground of a painting helps to make the background look further away and can give depth to a picture.

The closer something is to the front of a picture the more detail you can see. So putting in extra details in this area is a good idea.

One painting technique to achieve this is to scrape out grassy things in a landscape. Or perhaps scratch out a texture in other subjects. For example, indicating the texture of the tablecloth in a still life.

Consider your painting surface

The amount of detail you can achieve will depend on the painting surface you are using. You will be able to add more detail when painting on a smooth surface than you can on a rough surface.

Damp is easier

When using acrylic paints I prefer to scrape out the shapes while the paint is still wet/damp. Although you can scratch the dried paint to make some shapes it is easy to dig too deeply and cut into the painting surface. This can be quite a problem on a paper surface.

What to use?

You can use a range of things to scrape out the shapes you want. With thicker paints it can be handy to use a palette knife. The palette knife can be used either flat or edge on depending on the effect you want.

I often use the end of a paint brush. This can be handy for thinner paints and smoother painting surfaces.

Of course you can always use a finger nail too!

Adding extra detail to the ‘detail’

Once the paint has dried you can also paint in further detail to the scraped out shapes for highlights and shadows. This can help to give the shapes extra definition too.

The amount of detail you put into a painting will depend on the subject matter and your style of painting.

As with any technique it is always worth experimenting on a spare piece of paper to make sure you like the effect before you use it on the final piece.