Painting my backdrop.....Help!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by trainsteve2435, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Hello everyone, im going to attempt to paint my own backdrop, but i have a few questions.... I live near an A.C Moore store and they seem to have a big selection of Folk Art brand paints in a lot of colors. Can someone reccomend the basic colors of paints i might need to but in order to paint mountains with trees and the distant horizon? I have already painted my backdrop the sky blue color, now i need to add some distant mountains and such. Also, can someone point me to any information that may help me in this process? If anyone has any words of wisdom, please let me know. Thanks!
  2. hiscopilot

    hiscopilot Member

    hmmmmmm.... I have never tried it. I will also look forward to the responses here!
  3. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How far away do you want the mountains to appear. Once you get more than a couple of miles away, trees kind of disappear and mountains become just shapes and colors.
  4. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    It depends on the locale! Give us a locale, and 'll help you find the right colors! :thumb:
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    it's hard to give painting tips in words... but here are a few i have picked up:

    1) practice somewhere else first rather than the backdrop. take some masonite and practice on that. It also never hurts to just get out a pencil and paper and just sketch objects as you see them - a coffee cup, a shoe, anything. It's good for building artistic skills.

    2) pay close attention to the real world - how perspective works, how colors fade and get bluer with distance. How shadows appear. How the sky is richer in color at zenith and fades towards the horizon.

    3) paint things as you see them rather than how you think you see them. The sky is often not blue, leaves are seldom green, and the trunks of trees are rarely brown. But that is how we colored them as kids with out crayons, so those are the colors we think they are. There is much more variation to color than we initially think.

    4) Don't try to paint too much detail into a backdrop. I would suggest start with a sky, and some distant hills, and no foreground objects.

    that's about all I can think of for now.

  6. Thanks for the suggestions, as far as the locale, my layout is based on the MRL/BN lines out in the north west part of the country. Thanks again!:wave:
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Take photographs of the countryside. West Virginia will be a lot different than Montana, but photographs don't lie, other than color shifts in some films if you use film. You want the Photos as realistic as possible from the distance you want your backdrops to appear.
    You would be amazed at how many preconceived notions we have that a photograph will show us are false.

    As an example, Jack Burgess who models the Yosemite Valley RR on a specific day in August of 1939 was quoted in an article on his railroad in one of the modeling mags. He said he always thought our grass in California was golden in the summer. He was amazed when he took photographs to see how much green was there. Had he modeled the grass the way he "remembered" instead of the way the camera showed, it would not have looked right.

    The photos will give you perspective on light and distance.

    Once you learn to see the those perspectives in an area where you know how far away the mountain is, then go to your local library and look for books with nice color pictures of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, or the Dakotas. You want to get a feeling of what you would see if you were standing next to the railroad you are modeling.

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