After playing around with a few different ideas for what to put in the background of this new reading-themed composition, I ended up deciding to go with a space scene.  It turns out I’m not bored with that…at all.  The composition was unconventional to begin with, since the background would have no physical relationship to the boy reading in the foreground, so why not go all the way add the crescent of an earth-like planet and two or three generation ships either arriving or just getting ready to depart? The design of the ships is far more realistic than the whimsical, retro-inspired rockets I’ve been painting up until now…and I suspect how much I like the effect will depend mostly on how well I execute the painting.

Speaking of execution, there are a few issues I’ll be trying to keep in mind as I work on the painting, and they mostly have to do with making the relationship between the foreground vignette and the background work together.  The level of detail and the treatment of the subjects will need to feel consistent, and balancing the two separate color schemes and light sources in a visually pleasing way will be an interesting experiment.   I’m also trying to decide whether to try and use some visual element to separate the two such a haze, a fade, a drop in color saturation in the background, a wall behind the chair that dissolves into the black of space, or maybe even a cloud effect.  Hopefully I can work most of that out during the under-painting.

In any event, it is sure to be a fun and challenging project.

20x12 inch, to-scale drawing ready to transfer to 30x18 inch canvas.

20×12 inch, to-scale drawing ready to transfer to 30×18 inch canvas.


As you can see in the above image, I ended up opting to extend the aspect ratio of the composition to accommodate the background. The drawing is 20×12 inches, so I’ll have to blow it up 150% in order to transfer it to the waiting 30×18 inch, aluminum composite panel.