Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Background Check

You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. (Richard Branson)

Unnamed (and unframed) Painting, 48 x 48, which is hanging in my newly renovated bedroom
(the local color of the flowers was "white," which I translated to greys and purples so they would show up).

Of late, like for the past three years (!), I have been favoring light backgrounds in my floral and still life paintings, and for that matter, figurative paintings as well.  Perhaps because I came out of a watercolor tradition, or because I like that look, or because my paintings seem to call for light and atmosphere...not totally sure, but when I am painting, light is what I am wanting!  The painting above, currently in my bedroom, was painted over a dry background previously applied...I painted the canvas with the wall paint used in the room (Benjamin Moore Sail Cloth :-)...just an experiment, but I kind of liked it.  By nature, however, that treatment is very flat, without paint dimension.

Looking for more texture in this recent piece, I used the spatula pictured below the painting to place chunks of pale paint in shifting temperatures.  Since the subject matter is strong and simple, I wanted the background to have visual interest, yet play a supporting role.

Infinite Possibilities, 36 x 36

Silicone spatula from Bed, Bath and Beyond

And, in another background variation, the piece below features white roses; of course, a white background wouldn't cut it.  Here I mixed some lively, yet subtle, color and washed it on the canvas with lots of solvent right after I had placed basic flower shapes with vine charcoal.  I left bare canvas peeking through, creating a light-shot effect (yet another experiment)!

Sunshine and Roses, 30 x 30

Backgrounds serve to support the central idea, but sometimes it is fun to push it a bit and see what happens; to me, traditional subject matter can be enlivened with an "abstract-ish" supporting backdrop.  AND, change is easy to effect if background overpowers the central idea -- another reason I love painting in oil!

“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” ~Picasso


  1. It just feels like someone sent me a present when I wake up and find nancy Franke in my InBox! Thank you for for the inspiration - so beautiful!

  2. There is nothing traditional or boring about your still lifes. You take ordinary objects and elevate them to a higher, more beautiful place. Always such beautiful work!!

  3. Nancy, This is a very interesting blog post. I love seeing the background finishes. Love the paintings as always! We need a photo of the new bedroom remodel showing your painting.

  4. Beautiful paintings as always!
    . Love the mosaic patterns in the backgrounds ..great spatula work!
    I agree with Ruth - would love a photo showing the painting in the environment it was painted for.

  5. Background checks deliver valuable insights that lead to smarter, more informed decisions and greater security for consumers,

  6. Hi buddies, it is great written piece entirely defined, continue the good work constantly.

  7. Personally I think overjoyed I discovered the blogs.
    National Bikini Day