I was reading the article "The Figure-Ground Conundrum" by Carl Purcell from one of my old "The Artist's" magazine (Dec. 2009) and found that it really hit home. I had been working on my little sandhill crane and wondering how to do the background. As I read the article I decided I would give it a try. The key principle is to explore various value shifts by putting light against dark and dark against light with transitions in between. It is so simple and something I do all the time but I never really put in this context before. I started working around my crane and just putting my darks against the light areas and my lights against the dark areas with a few grasses mixed in. Then, just as the article said, things that were suggested began to make sense. The result is a very interesting background and that really makes my crane pop. To top it off I put a touch of red on his head to make their very distinctive marking. I also dabbed a bit into the background so the red on his head would not be alone. This little picture "Breakfast Break" is only 3 x 4 inches but I do find it interesting.