What Makes a Good Background?

A good background should complement your artwork rather than compete with the main elements in a painting. It should show relevance, composure and uniformity to the picture. Its role is to complete and tie your whole artwork together.

Remember, the background is there to enhance, and not to overpower the “star of the show”.

If in doubt I like to take a step back and keep things simple. There are times when a solid colour background can be the best outcome. As a decorative painter, I paint on many different surfaces. And many of these are usually rather oddly shaped.  So at times I feel that a solid background on a decorative surface is all that’s required to enhance my art work. Especially when there is routed edging, hinges, knobs, doors, draws, lids, etc. etc. etc. to contend with. A solid background with an edge that pops may be all that‘s required.


So what makes a good solid coloured background?

A well applied basecoat in your chosen colour is all you need. In most cases the basecoat is the foundation for most background techniques and effects. So in this case, where there are no techniques and effects required, a well executed basecoat becomes the background; a solid colour of support for your artwork.

And here’s a quick tip;

If you have mixed colours for the background, save some of the mix for any touch ups later.


Happy painting,




4 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Background?

  1. I agree Jane it’s not always easy, I’ve sanded back a few projects only because the background just wasn’t sitting right in the end.


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