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Painting a backscene - Backscenes - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 01:43 am
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MikeC
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One thing I'd like to mention before doing any more is light direction.
 In the two scenes so far, I've been careful to avoid giving them a definite light direction. There would be nothing sillier than having say a bay window casting a shadow onto the wall to its right, indicating light from the left, then having a car or something on the layout with the shadow going the other way.
 Personally I like to use an adjustable floodlight to vary the lighting in my photos - I know many modellers don't worry so much - and I like to try to depict different times of day and weather.
 To this end it's important that my clouds, for example, don't look backlit, and that trees don't cast long shadows across the ground.
 While I really admire photographic backscenes I see very real pitfalls in some due to the pre-set light and shade on buildings and in skies.

 Please remember, these are only my opinions. I'm not saying I'm right and everyone else is wrong. It's just my way of doing things.

 Mike



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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 12:39 pm
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Les
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If you start receiving quantities of paper and artists materials from all parts of Europe Mike, I think I will be able to explain why; just don't book any fishing trips for a while.:lol::lol::lol:



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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 01:00 pm
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Petermac
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Mike - it's observations like that which set you aside from us mere mortals !!

You're dead right but that's a point I'd never actually considered.  No doubt I'd have studied a scene for months knowing "something" was wrong but would never have realised it was simply the light direction.

That's yet another reason this forum is so brilliant - we all learn from those with high levels of skill - I know I'll never achieve those levels but at least I might avoid some disasters.

Thanks Mike.   ;-);-)

 

p.s. My art paper is in the post to you as we speak !! :roll::roll:



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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 01:14 pm
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MikeC
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:lol::lol:


 Many thanks, but I'm afraid I'm just as mortal as anyone else:smile:, particularly where electrics are concerned :???:  It's lots of trial and even more error for me.
 Hopefully over the weekend I'll find some time to do a tree or two.


 Jeff - no doubt my idea of what you're aiming at differs from the reality, but I'll gladly do all I can to help you carry it off.

 Mike

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 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 11:18 pm
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Gwent Rail
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Don't worry, Mike, when I get around to doing that bit of backscene, explanatory photos will be forthcoming!!

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 04:55 am
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MikeC
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Time for a biggish tree. This one turned out a bit bigger than I had intended, not that it's out of scale. It does go to show, though, that it pays to measure the height you want before stating to paint.  [note to self :lol:]

 I started with a basic sky, just like the one in the first demo, and painted a hill in front of it, making the green with a blue and yellow, plus some red to control the strength of the green. 
 The tree was then started with a half-inch wide flat brush.  When working in oils or as in this case, acrylics, you start with the darks and work up to the lights. It's the reverse in watercolour - don't ask me why :lol:   This doesn't mean you can't retouch the darks later on. In fact I did that same thing for this tree.

 I made a brown by mixing red and a tube green - evocatively named 'Deep Green' - plus a little blue because the brown was a bit rich.



 More blue plus some white was added to that mix to vary it a bit to create depth.


 The foliage was started with a one inch wide flat brush, using the deep green + some red [not much] + some dark blue [not much] I also chucked some of the brown in there for variety. I left plenty of gaps.

 Next I took my fan brush - a couple are shown in the brushes photo - and added the mid tone which was a pleasant faintly yellowish green made from the deep green plus yellow and white.


  The next photo shows that more dark was added after the mid tone. Sky blue was also lightly and very gently brushed over the outermost edges of the foliage mass to help it settle down into the scene.

 The added darks and sky colour also mixed slightly with the mid-green, taming it down slightly, which was fine by me. If it had been too much then it would simply be a matter of adding more of the mid.
 To look convincing, sky hole should usually be surrounded by darker foliage which of course is in silhouette against the sky. Similarly, branches and twigs tend to be darker against the sky. These are guidelines of course, not hard and fast rules, but it's handy to keep them in mind.

 Next job was to add some gentle highlights - just a paler yellow to yellow green. It's important these aren't overdone. To get form we need three tones: dark, mid, and light, but too much light will weaken the effect.

 More darks were added to the inner parts of the trunk, and some dark branches were added to the sky holes. I mixed a dark purple to the deep green for this.  Small fine brush required.
 Then some lighter branches were added. The basic tree trunk mix plus a good dollop of white did the trick:

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 05:02 am
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MikeC
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 I painted a deep green shadow underneath, being careful it didn't suggest any side lighting.   Scrubbed in some basic background trees and fence posts, background lines etc and brightened the grasses either side of the tree shadow to help it all come to life.  More yellow and weak orange [red+yellow] to the front.  The orangey colour was added while the greens were wet so they helped to settle it down by mixing with it just a tad.
 One helpful tip -  the green shadow was brushed up the trunk to help marry the two together. Just a light touch and not too much paint on the brush.


 Finally a couple of views of it on my layout.






 Had to be careful where I posed it because it's a fair size.
 I think it would look better with buildings or modelled trees in front of it. Telegraph poles, too.

 Mike

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 05:41 am
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Marty
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Pretty much speechless....

I think this little how to is going to be of invaluable help Mike, I've always wondered how artists go their trees looking so good.

How did you fade out the distant hills? A thin wash of sky colour over the top?



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 06:03 am
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MikeC
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Marty I just painted it thinly and with broad sweeps, with a touch more blue added to the distant part, although the sky over the top, as you suggested, would work well.
Obviously it helps to keep unnecssary details out of the distant bits too.

Mike

Edit - after thinking back, I know I added sky colour to the mix of green as I went. It's one of those things I do automatically, but neglected to mention.

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 06:07 am
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Christrerise
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Incredible Mike - on the first picture with the cow it is difficult to spot where scenery and backscene join!

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 06:10 am
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Sol
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Mike, all photos good, no, very good but the photo with the cow in front & the creek/river is just it.

My backboards are definitely enroute to you.

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 06:28 am
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Marty
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Christrerise wrote: Incredible Mike - on the first picture with the cow it is difficult to spot where scenery and backscene join!

I agree, worth mentioning that matching your backscene landscape and tree colours to your layout scatter and foliage colours is critical to get this sort of blend Mike?

Or am I just stating the bleeding obvious  :oops: :lol::lol::lol::lol:



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 06:49 am
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henryparrot
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This is superb Mike

Watching this backscene develop is fascinating i sure it will give members the confidence to try ourselves.

cheers Brian.W

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 08:11 am
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Robert
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I'm fresh out of superlatives Mike so I'm going to fall back on 'nice'. Nice, very nice.



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 08:21 am
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Ken
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A marriage made in heaven Mike!
Ken



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 08:37 am
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Petermac
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Mike - that sequence of photos showing the development of the scene is stunning.  Comparing the first shot with the final scene is unbelievable.  To think it's all done with a few judicial splodges of paint makes it all the more incredible.  It's not difficult to see where the layout ends and the backscene starts - it's bloomin' impossible !! :shock::shock:

It's always the "masters" in this hobby, be it scenery, weathering, trackwork or scratchbuilding/kit bashing, that drives the rest of us on.  I wonder if you ever feel the strain of carrying us all on your backs ?

Brilliant stuff.  ;-);-)



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 08:39 am
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owen69
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Mike,i am :mrgreen: with envy,but as that is exactly what i need for my setup i will give it a go.
:eek::lol::lol::lol::cool:

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 09:38 am
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MikeC
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Marty I didn't really give colour matching a lot of thought, but got lucky. I admit I should have thought about it, although it was only meant as a demo, and not as a permanent fixture. The grassy bank of the layout is surgical lint that I painted, so I guess I must have used the same colours!
When I finally get around to painting my New England in winter backscene I'll have to remember to colour it to suit the wintry landscape - little to no green except for the pine trees, and dry golden and rust-coloured grasses. That sort of thing.

It's good to know people are enjoying this. Thankyou all for commenting. And Owen, if it helps you or anyone else on here in any way it's all been worthwhile.

Mike

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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 10:42 am
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Diesel
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Superb Mike superb :smile:



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 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 05:09 pm
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I even struggle with matchstick men so i have no chance of doing anything that even remotely looks like this :oops: :oops: :oops:

Very nice Mike

 



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