We have been looking at watercolour backgrounds this week in the classroom.
When you have a strong silhouette shape in the foreground and a bright background you then have a formula for a successful painting. All the scenes we painted were of animals with a setting or otherwise, sun in the background. A good design principle is to eclipse the sun with the dark  silhouette shape. You can apply these backgrounds in quite a strong mix of colour as opposed to a watercolour wash so you are looking at opaque finish rather than transparent watercolours.

How to .. make a line drawing of the major shapes. You can use heavy pencil pressure for this as you want to see the lines through the background colour.

Background colours: A strong orange mix, a bright lemon yellow. The yellow is of the area of sun, the orange for all of the rest of the sky.

Brushes: hake and chisel.

Foreground: a chromatic black – burnt umber and ultramarine blue 50/50 proportions. Brushes: large round and small round headed.

Paint in the background first, horizontal brushstrokes. Do Not go back and forth over the colour with your brush. All your brushstrokes should be going in one direction only, if you go back over the paint, you are wasting your
materials as you will lift paint off of the paper.

For the sun shape use a small brush to lift out colour.

When the background is over 90% dry you can start adding the foreground, using a round headed brush. Work from the top of the paper.