A few weeks ago I posted about changing the background of a painting. I took a standard flower painting from a traditional dark background to a colorful reddish-orange background to a mixed background. Someone asked me if I made the changes on the actual painting. Yes, I did. I like the painting but I’ve long passed the point of where every one is precious to me. As the artiste, I feel it is my right to paint how I wish and what I wish.
However, I’m going to show you a neat little trick which will allow you to make temporary changes to a painting. Here you can try out new ideas, new approaches without making permanent changes.
I have a large roll of acetate film which I used to use for wrapping large matted but not framed paintings, particularly watercolors. This kept the paintings clean and protected them from fingerprint smudges and other dirt. Great to use in art bins or wherever you want to display your work in public. You can buy acetate in rolls or sheets.
The painting that I’m demonstrating with is titled Far Horizons. It shows my granddaughter looking out over the Grand Canyon. Not only does the painting depict the distant views of the Grand Canyon, but the deeper meaning of a young girl looking out to the future.
Although I love the composition of the painting, it somehow didn’t seem to give the impression of really far horizons, as anyone who has visited the great canyon can attest. So I wanted to try to lighten the background as a test.
First, I cut a large piece of acetate and taped it to the painting. Then just started loosely painting over the acetate with acrylic. I lightened both the distant sky, and made many changes to the rocks with lighter colors. I even added some more highlights to the girl’s hair and jacket.
I plan to set the painting aside in order to evaluate whether I want to make any of these changes permanent. If not, I haven’t done any damage to the original painting and can leave it just the way it is.
This technique works well for both acrylic and oil painting.