Last week I took a workshop on integrating figures with backgrounds. We used our personal photos as the reference and with watercolor on white paper. I learned a bit about the emotion of color and brushstrokes, but had trouble recognizing the finished products as something that genuinely reflected my own feelings about the subject.
Today I gave it another go with a photo I took at a wedding over the weekend. The photo shows an older woman clapping for the young couple. I was moved by the stark emotion of the woman and wanted to capture it. This time I worked with gouache on black paper and feel like it reflects what I noticed about the woman’s reaction.
Each of these paintings tells a story and the backgrounds contribute meaning. The last is my favorite because the colors are strong, the shapes are clear, and the brushstrokes are not fussy.