Book of Backgrounds 2016, Number 21

Show of hands, do you enjoy looking at art that is flat and boring?  of course not!

Ok, show of hands if pushing contast in art is out of your comfort zone?  it’s ok to admit it.  When we’re building a piece of art, things start slowly and of course things are ugly in the beginning.  But when the layers, focal point and accents are added in, then it starts to really make sense.

It happened to me in this video lesson, what I envisioned wasn’t what took place and I felt that my art experiment went terribly wrong.  Being an advocate of not scrapping anything, finish what you started and don’t edit out mistakes in my videos, the background turned out to be really nice.  When I finished it, it felt like leather.

Why Contrast in Art

Contrast in art with this particular background will not be hard when it comes time to building on it in phase 2 (Doug 2017), as long as I keep the goal in mind that contrast in art can have a powerful impact, not only in making your art more vibrant, but even little subtle things like accents can make a huge difference.

Background Type:

  • Inside spread from the background used in Book of Backgrounds #17

Palette: DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics

  • Primary Yellow – DMFA28
  • Transparent Red Iron Oxide – DMFA41
  • Green Gold – DMFA14
  • Translucent White – DMFA40
  • Diarylide Yellow – DMFA11*
  • Vermillion – DMFA45*
  • Phthalo Turquoise DMFA20
  • Phthalo Blue – DMFA23**
  • Phthalo Green-Yellow – DMFA25**
  • Carbon Black – DMFA05**

*to control whether you want Phthalo Turquoise to be more blue, green or darker
**stain book paper that is white so it’s not so harsh


Prep and Mediums

  • DecoArt Media White Gesso – DMM18
  • DecoArt Media Matte Medium – DMM20

Collage Material

  • DecoArt Americana Decou-Page Paper, Victorian Romance (music sheet) – DP03


  • Americana Mixed Media Stencil, Feathered Friends – ASMM33


Royal Aqualon

  • 3/4″ & 1″ Wash Glaze – R2700
  • #8 Round – R2250

Royal Soft-Grip

  • #8 Bristle Bright – SG1425

General Supplies:

  • Royal Brush Square Brush Basin – RD325
  • Royal Essentials Palette Paper – RD358
  • Royal Palette/Painting Knife – LG2
  • No-Stick Mat (Currently using the Unstick Arts & Craft Sheet)
  • Mister Bottle Filled with Water
  • Paper Towels
  • Baby or Kitchen Wipes
  • Kitchen cloths (for dry rub application)
  • Heat Gun


Does Adding Contrast in Art Scare You?

I’m not going lie, working through this background, thinking things were failing scared me a bit, but I pushed on.  Do you feel uncomfortable with high contrasts in art?  or do you prefer to create art that has more pastel contrasts?  please share in the comments below.