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Background Finishes for Decorative Painters: Part 2
Splattered backgrounds

By Alannaha Pritchard, BFA,
West Coast "Paint-In" -- Decorative Paint Conference

This is the easiest background ever! And the perfect touch for those having trouble with choosing colors for backgrounds.

Take at least 3 to 5 colors from your palette and choose a neutral color for the base color . . . my suggestions:

Now the fun part . . . splattering!

There are different methods to do this. Practice with all to find the one you feel most comfortable with and have fun!

The trick with splattering is having the paint the right consistency. Remember to add enough water to make it like ink, the same consistency you use for your liner brush. You will need lots of newspaper or plastic to protect items in the general area. Those little splatters can travel a long ways!

Now paint your main design. The background colors will be lighter than the same colors in the piece because they have been diluted with water. If you need more contrast, work it into your main design, not the background or you’ll be playing with this forever.

The whole effect should be very subtle and if you decide to give your piece an antique look, you can splatter a little more with dark brown or black. If you decide to antique, put a light coat of varnish on first, after everything has been painted then antique. (This gives you more control -- if you don’t like it, you can wipe it off, without redoing the whole background and main design.)

Want a special touch for a wedding, or holiday?? Instead of splattering all over the finished piece with a dark color. . . use a very light touch of metallic gold or silver, even pearl. Stay away from bronze  -- it muddies the colors! Try for larger splatters for variety! Try to use gold over warmer color combinations and silver over cooler pastels. The two can be combined for an unusual look if you have warm and cool color palettes in your design. Again remember less is better.

Alannaha Pritchard is a decorative painter and teacher who lives in Victoria, BC. She is currently organizing a convention for decorative painters to be held in Victoria on March 20 to 23, 1998. Call for info: 250-995-3244

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