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Palomino Layout - Problem Painting Backdrop

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  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Jarrell, Texas
  • 1,049 posts
Palomino Layout - Problem Painting Backdrop
Posted by Tom Bryant_MR on Monday, June 24, 2019 5:28 AM

I am struggling with getting the sky on my backdrop the way I envision it. Two views here: from the side and head on. I am trying to get the sky hazy from the bottom up (white) about half way and then blue the remainder up. I am using the wet method - paint blue on and without waiting for it to dry, starting with white at the bottom and feathering up.

You can barely see any white at the bottom. The white is simply overpowered by the blue as I feather. I'm putting the white on thick Sad

Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated; this is my third attempt - thank heavens you can paint over.

I tried to follow this video https://www.modelrailroadacademy.com/video/tips-for-painting-backdrops-for-model-railroads-010359/

Tom

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    October, 2018
  • 108 posts
Posted by Bigjim7 on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:02 AM
My opinion is that your blue is to dark blue to begin with and your light blue is not light enough. Their are hundreds of videos on youtube that show how to paint sky vistas not related to trains by the way' but killer info by pro painters. Also painting tree's mountains ect.
  • Member since
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  • From: Pacific Northwest
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Posted by SPSOT fan on Monday, June 24, 2019 1:27 PM

This is just an idea but you could try using an airbrush to apply light coats that you can slowly make heavier until you get the effect you want. I thin an airbrush will do the best job of fading colors together.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, June 24, 2019 7:09 PM

I think I would just mix a lighter blue, and redo it.  I had to redo mine a couple of times until it looked right.

Once you get the blue right, then do the "haze", and clouds.

Mike.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Central Vermont
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Posted by cowman on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:25 PM

If you like your blue, try misting the lower half with white from a spray can.  A quick, distant pass at about the middle, several passes the lower you go.

Just a thought.

Good luck,

Richard

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  • From: US
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Posted by wp8thsub on Monday, June 24, 2019 9:12 PM

Tom Bryant_MR
I am using the wet method - paint blue on and without waiting for it to dry, starting with white at the bottom and feathering up.

There's your problem.  Get the whole thing painted blue and let it dry completely.  Apply white from the bottom in sections maybe a couple feet at a time until you're used to it.  Quickly blend more blue down into it from above.  Move to the next section and repeat.

DSC01750

by wp8thsub, on Flickr

All of my backdrops were painted as I described, although I typically used white drywall primer instead of straight white paint.  I've done the same with white paint and it still works about the same.

Rob Spangler

  • Member since
    December, 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 7:25 AM

OPs backdrop is way too blue. 

I'd use about a pint of that vibrant blue to tint three pints of of ceiling white (which is tinted very light gray) to achieve the proper sky blue (mid-day, mid-summer......bright). 

Roll out the sky blue, then brush the bottom the ceiling white (not pure white) and feather your way up by mixing the white and blue as you move up the backdrop.  You can do it while its wet ala Bob Ross.  Use two brushes, one for the blue (in case of touch up) and one for mixing/feathering the white. 

Its pretty easy technique, and the best part is that there will always be some slight variation near the bottom of the backdrop each time you grab some paint to blend, which is what you want.  Of course, you want to pour some of the paints out before you blend, to keep the mixing brush from tinting the base colors as you paint.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    January, 2005
  • From: Jarrell, Texas
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Posted by Tom Bryant_MR on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 6:32 PM

Thanks all.

I agree this blue is too dark. I had three shades of blue.  My first try with the lightest blue washed out any hint of blue.  My second try with the medium blue gave me basically the same results. The third try here is dominated by the blue. 

Richard, I think I have tried the spray can method many moons ago. Good idea. 

I'm going to try painting the medium blue, let dry and paint the white bottom up and using a small amount of the blue, paint from the  middle down into the white as was suggested by Rob

Try, try, and try again. Thank you all. 

Tom

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Boise, Idaho
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Posted by E-L man tom on Wednesday, July 03, 2019 11:54 PM

Yes, as several have said here, your blue is too dark. I am about to put up the backdrop on my new layout. I am using some of the backdrop from my old layout. I knew that one day I would be building a new and bigger layout, so I kept a paint swatch from the original sky blue paint that I used. I would suggest that you go to either a big box store (think Home Depot or Lowes), or a regular paint store and look at the sky-like colors they have there. I happen to have chosen a Behr paint product called Nevada Sky. There are many blues that can simulate sky, but I believe yours is too dark, so dark that even a lot of white mixed with it will not lighten it.

Tom Modeling the free-lanced Toledo Erie Central switching layout.
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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 08, 2019 10:23 AM

It may help to remember that the 'blue' here is not the color of the sky, but the "color" of the relatively small part of it 'subtended' by and near the horizon.  That's the area containing the haze (and distance through it) that produces colored sunsets and harvest moon optical effects.  It's not uncommon for people to assume that the same 'sky' blue they see looking up is the actual color of the whole "inverted bowl", rather than a scattering effect of the shorter wavelengths in light through the atmosphere.  While it may be little help to say the old adage 'paint what you see' here, understanding some of the physical causes of the real-world 'look' should help as dramatically here as they do in good weathering practice.   

This is no more a 'white feathered into blue' effect than weathering involves 'soil' or grease colors; you need to replicate some of the optical effect of your intended 'climate' whether you airbrush or feather to achieve the shading or transitions.

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