Chasing Light Artistic Tools for Creatives

Another Painted Backdrop

Nikki Harrison4 Comments

I have blogged about this before, about painting my own backdrops.  The first time I ever did it I blogged about it.

I have been doing it every now and again since then, much more successfully.  I needed a really long one, it's been bothering me for a while now.  I have nice high ceilings in my studio, and really needed to be able to take advantage of the them, while keeping enough back drop on the floor for those more creative shots.

This time I used a 10x18 piece of canvas, and it really is the perfect size for my needs.  I got my canvas from a company out of Chicago, called Duck Canvas, I didn't want the sewing seam through the middle like the first couple I did.  So this one is so much better.

For this one, I really wanted a dark grey(ish) color.  But I wanted it to be a little subtle with the pattern and not so bam - in your face.  I like to shoot with an ND filter in studio as well, so I did want some texture on it for those times.

My color pallet I used this time was a little odd, but I knew what I wanted.  I typically use 3 colors, this time I used 4.  My base was a bluish darker grey color.  When doing your base coat, use a nice watery blend of paint, fabric softener and water.  I know in the images of the production it looks more brown, but its not.  The next was a light beige color for sponging the light spot in the middle.  I don't use any water for this step.  I then let this step dry over night.

The next steps are a lot of hard physical work.  I used a dark brown, to emphasize the vignette, and I used a white to sponge more of the light in the middle.  I let this dry for about 15 minutes.  Then using the second lighter beige color (with lots of water and fabric softer) I got down on my knee's and systematically blended it all together by hand with a sponge.  Yes, I was dripping sweat, and didn't have to spend as much time on the treadmill yesterday because of it!  (a side benefit!)

I let that dry for several hours.  Then I painted on a more bluish dark grey, very watery - with a roller.  This really tones down all the sponging and blends it into the final look for the backdrop.

Let this dry for at least 12 hours with a fan before you even think of hanging.  (longer if you have the time)  Otherwise the canvas will become very misshaped.