The very first tutorial in our art techniques collection describes how Rita uses shaped masks to block off areas when painting. More recently, Rita has been able to apply the masking to painting objects in a background that peak out from behind the subject of the painting. By leaving the mask in place while painting things like foliage and later removing the mask, Rita is able to achieve the appearance of the subject being in front of the foliage. It is confusing for her to imagine what is going on behind the bird and much easier just to paint at will and then remove the template. You can see the application of this process in the series of this toucan painting that follows, starting with applying a background wash with the masking template in place.
2. Painting Foliage in the Background
Proceed to paint the foliage as desired including painting over the masking template.
3. Remove the Masking Template
Remove the masking template.
4. Paint the Subject
Paint the subject of the art–in this case a toucan. As you can see the foliage is behind the bird.