Stuck On My Background---Advice Wanted!

Here is my latest effort. My painting is on the left, and the image I set up, photographed and am painting from is on the right. This was an antique my father picked up out of Mexico. I proceeded to this point with no real plan for my background. I like the crack in the wall, but the extreme white highlight in my photo has left me going in circles about where to go now. I brushed in a neutral tone that matches the top right corner of my photo, but I'm stuck. Any advice? I want to keep it simple, but complimentary. Thanks in advance for your help and honest critiques.

The title is "3 Nails" and the painting is 11 x 14.image


  • edited September 2013
    This looks great! I definitely like the crack and the light pattern in the photo. For the "too light" portion, just darken your mix up a bit with one of the colors that you used for the cross, which will harmonize the background with the foreground. My only one small suggestion, if you don't mind, is that you should consider softening the edges of the cast shadow. Shadow edges are never as hard as the edge of the object casting it. So, you can see in the reference that the further a shadow edge moves away from the mass that is casting it, the softer the edge will be.
  • This is sooooo first glance I thought these were 2 reference photos....great job!

    Since your painting our "Lord"......I would set down at the easel and say a prayer...ask him for guidance on what to do...... :\">

    I really like the subtle colors of the original background.... upon examining it...I'm seeing lots of mottled blotches of color values.......make a string of these grayed neutrals (adding a little more blue to the orange mixture to gray it even more) in other words....not so orange...

    Mix from light to dark....

    The very washed out light color on the right I'd make that a darker version then it shows in photo but still make it the lightest background color...

    On your painting I really love the very top of the cross (shadow) how you made it bluish.....I'd do as Martin suggested (soften shadow) but would glaze that beautiful blue over the shadow with a transparent really make the cross shine...

    Hope this helps....thanks for posting a lovely piece of work!
  • Thanks Martin and Savannah for the tips. I'm going to soften the edges of the shadow, but was waiting for how to deal with the background, so I could blend and soften. I'll post the final painting in the next few days. Thanks again!
  • Awesome work, at first glance I couldn't tell which was which. Your background doesn't have to be as light as the reference so follow Martin's advise. Do add the crack in the wall and when painting the nuances in temperature in the background make sure they are a lot less noticeable than in the cross.
  • tjstjs -
    edited September 2013
    I honestly thought they were both the photo references! You did fantastic! You should be so proud of this. Awesome ^:)^ :-c ^:)^
  • Great job !! What about a light source coming from above right with a vale of light laying across Jesus in a spiritual way ? Defiantly keep the crack in the wall. I was thinking of Spalding some of the stucco revealing bricks, but this might take too much away from the subject. =D>
  • If I would change anything it would be to add the crack in the wall and maybe make it a little yellowish to show age. Other than that I like it the way it is. Great job. =D>
  • TwoPalette

    The shabby stucco background seems to be a popular choice.
    Check out Google images for "stucco texture"

    Here are a few examples


  • I much prefer the colours in your painting, especially the blue hues. It really is quite beautiful :)
  • Guys, thank you so much for your input! I am definitely putting the crack in... it was always my intention, just couldn't figure out how to handle the wall. I'm going to stick with my original photo and tone down the washed out highlight to the right. Thanks for the confidence to press ahead and I will post the final outcome as soon as I finish it.
  • Wow great stuff! Agree about softening the shadow. I know that how you are going to paint the background will be perfect. Can't wait to see it finished!
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