Want to know how to take your painted backgrounds from crafty to artsy?
Well, I'm here to help. Follow these steps and you'll see added depth and interest in every painted project you try.
I'm going to use cheap, acrylic craft paint. For these small projects I think it works great and you'll save a ton of money over artist quality paint.
I will paint three layers. The first will be a watery wash followed by a mid coat and then the final coat. The wash color doesn't matter too much. Pick any color you like. I prefer to start with a warm color because it warms up the subsequent layers.
A paint color directly out of the bottle will be flat. Mix at least two colors together and you'll see immediate depth and interest.
I used an orange and yellow for the wash coat, dropping the orange right onto the yellow on my pallet (see above). To make it wash-y, I put a lot of water into my brush and ran the water over my canvas. I then dipped my brush tip to the top surface of the paint picking up just a little. I mixed it with the water in the brush and on the canvas. Quick, easy... don't think too much.
As that dries, I consider my final color. Whatever it's going to be, the middle coat will be its opposite. For example, red needs a green under it, blue would go with orange, purple with yellow. By putting the compliment (opposite) in the middle, the top color will look richer, especially in little spots where the compliment peeks through.
I mixed a yellow-ish green, keeping the paint thick, and loosely painted it over the wash. Again, not over thinking things. See how some of the wash shows through? That is why it has to be painted with the wash. If that was white canvas showing through, this would look very amatuer! That's also why the first coat needs to be watery. Unlike thick paint, it will easily fall into grooves and give tone to all the nooks and crannies of your canvas. It will also peek through where the thicker paint fails to coat those grooves.
The last coat is a red with a bit of blue mixed in. I didn't blend it too well on the pallet. Mixing it on the canvas is my preference.
Wow! It's almost like an artist did that background or something!