For much of the life of my model railroad, my backdrop has used a simple, but effective treatment. Beginning with a “banded” fade from sky blue to haze at the horizon, I then added a basic terrain treatment of several bands of different green shades plus the base sky blue for the furthest away terrain. Early blog posts covered this:
As I contemplate three-dimensional scenery efforts atop the terrain base, I recognized I should add detail to the simple backdrop treatment. I practiced tree techniques a bit on one of my sample boards, but I recognize I have a long way to go with art efforts. Looking at what I accomplished in this round of painting, I judge myself still back in elementary school art. Yes, I have some knowledge of color and even some neat art tools (fan brushes for fir trees and sea sponges for deciduous trees), but my two-dimensional efforts are just that—two-dimensional. I also see I need to learn to apply shading and a better job of fading toward hazed as I deal with terrain further from view. Nonetheless, a report is appropriate for the current effort.
I chose a stretch of easily accessed backdrop on the route past Westfir for my next steps in “art.”
Basic backdrop leading to Westfir.
I began by defining the ridgelines with trees. Note to self—mix in sky blue with the “tree colors” to “push” the trees and terrain further “back.”
Tree ridge treatment brought around to the river area serving the Westfir sawmill.
More trees added below the ridge, but this is too regular—just a second line of trees. I really need to work on breaking up this regular appearance! An attempt has been made to provide some “foreground” ground treatment. I will work with the soil cover to coordinate between 3-D and 2-D appearances. The current “soil” is just a preliminary experiment.
I finally worked in trees closer to view. The fir trees are too dark, but will have to do for now. In front of the fir are deciduous trees—maples in the prototype scene. They are “apple green” to signify the late April season chosen for my foliage efforts. Low level brush has been added as well.
Before and after comparison.
More accomplished artists are free to both chuckle at my crude attempts and perhaps offer suggestions for this very amateur “artist.” I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I felt it was time to continue down that road with at least a few more baby steps.