The latest couple progress shots of my new hood ornament still life:
I liked the contrast of the cool bird on a warm, earth-tone background. Wanting to do something similar going forward, I figured painting mountains back there would do the trick.
Only problem was, after painting several versions of large, earth-tone mountains back there, the scene looked unreal because the hood ornament, as well as the mountains, were fighting for attention in the foreground. The mountains needed to go back into the distance, which would change their hue – but so be it.
What you see here is my final background I painted from a reference photo I shot one time of some distant hills in a dreadful place called Laughlin, Nevada.
You can't tell from this image of the painting, but I extremely blurred the edges on those mountains, which really helps to push them way back.
Now, once I develop the lights and darks on the subject, and push the contrast, the sharp-edged bird is really going to pop off a background which is there, but is nice and subdued.