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Background Painting for Opus 6 Cover by Stephanie Johanson
The blue cloth and red cloth are a tie in with Randy's story, because in his story the sports jerseys become red or blue to show each player what team they are on. While Randy's story is not the only one in Opus 6, the red and blue seemed as if it would be a bold background for the cover image.
I am very fond of portraying texture in my paintings, but not through the texture of the medium, the thickness of the paint. The cloth presented an interesting challenge. I wanted to show folds, light, and shadows. I looked at many photos of cloth, and dug into my collection of sewing material looking for red and blue pieces that might show me the way the cloth might reflect the light. I even pulled out some of my husband's hockey jerseys.
I took photos of the different materials with the light from different angles. I was not completely sure I liked my plan, but it was time to start. I hoped that it would come together as I mixed the paint and let my brush express the shape. When I finally stood back from the painting, the shades of blue and red weren't exactly as I pictured them in my head, but they did seem to flow and have the motion of cloth.
I decided to do the background and the foreground as separate paintings. They are acrylic on canvas. I photographed each and combined these elements digitally. This gives the full impression of a painting and still allowed me to have the advantages of a layered digital image. The plan was to be able to reposition elements if the layout wasn't exactly what was needed for the cover.