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Background question

edited January 2013 in Painting
Newbie question: If I want a dark background to be as smoothe and nondescript as possible and not show brushstrokes, should I add more medium to the paint, more mineral spirits, both or neither?



  • neither... keep the paint as it is. What you want to do is blend... I have blending brushes that I have collected over the years and use execluvesly for background... what is comfortable with me may not be for you so experiment.... afterall this is a learning experience.
  • Unless your paint has been sitting out for a long time, it should not show brushstrokes (texture). Talking about oil paint mixed with slow dry medium.
  • Hmmm. I am using the slow dry medium and did the "fall off the stick" test, but possibly not using enough, I guess.
  • Are you using a soft brush? Also try and make those strokes up and down...horizontal catches more light than verticle strokes. Do you have a really smooth canvas?
  • Thanks for the tips. Smoother than a canvas, I'm painting on a panel.
  • I hope the TCM police are not on line... you could do your background in flat acrylic (i.e. like a wall) and do your drawing and oil painting on top.

    Though I tend to prefer texture and colour variation in backgrounds to lend visual interest, depth and perspective.

  • tjstjs -
    edited October 2012
    dencal said:

    I hope the TCM police are not on line...


    Cop alert Denis... I'll issue a citation latter =)) Only kidding Denis. I just couldn't resist....

    Back to M's question -
    I really encourage you to 'at first' use the recommended canvas if you can afford it. I used the linen for a couple paintings. It makes the whole process so much simplier and you do get the surface you want soooo easily.

    I couldn't afford the expensive linen and used a portrait texture canvas for my subsequent paintings with success. But was more difficult to get use too and achieve the smooth factor.

    I have since tried panels. Common sense would tell ya - want smooth paint on a smooth surface. But I finally figured it out that it's a combination of things.

    The slow dry medium needs a bit of tooth to make it stick into place which you need as long as you prep the canvas/linen per Mark's instructions. Then when you blend it will stay in place perfectly while still allowing you to do that blending.

    The panels? It works but for me I found it harder. What I found was the little nuances of value I had so carefully painted on got lost in the blending process. Nothing there to keep them in place I guess. I lost a bit of that beauty.

  • Hi, some time I use two cotes of gesso which helps to achieve smooth surface as good base to to start with .
    In this video you can see few thinks including how to apply gesso.

  • Sorry this is the wrong one ,this is right.

  • I don't know what happens any way the video is Secrets of the Masters on you tube,
    sorry about that.
  • Thanks very much for all of your answers. A lot to think about...
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