When I began this painting, I knew it would be a different approach for me. With a very subtle and abstract background, the goal is to make the main subjects "pop."
I envisioned a taupe background color and mixed 3 different shades making the lightest color the warmest. The darkest color at the top and bottom is purposely painted moving in and out of the other 2 shades. If I had painted an even gradient from top to bottom, I think the painting's movement would have suffered.
To give the painting depth, I wanted cows in the background slightly above center. Grabbing a small angle brush and the darkest of the three colors, I painted cow streaks. There is one in the center which reads more like a cow and tricks the mind into seeing more. One of my abstract groupings to the left of the foreground cowboy kind of looks like another cowboy on a horse. A happy accident. The background center cow still needs a tad more definition, but I will wait until the cowboy and horse are painted.