Monday, March 17, 2008

Autumn's Abstract Patterns

Negative Painting is the subject of my watercolor classes in Sacramento and Auburn this month. It is one of my favorite painting techniques and I do it in watercolor, oil, and acrylic.

Negative Painting means creating the subject by painting around it. Or in other words you create the positive, by painting the negative space around it. It is easy to do once you get the hang of it.

Most of the time I use this technique for creating shapes in a background, as I illustrate in the two previous posts. However this painting was created entirely by negative painting. I started with splashing light value color all over my watercolor paper and letting it dry. Then I gathered leaves from our property and used them as the positive shapes that I painted around. To create negative shapes behind negative shapes you have to start with the one closest to you first. After I created the first leaf by painting the background around I let the paint dry, then painted the leaves behind it by painting the background behind them etc. After I had the entire pile of leaves created, I then painted the veins in some, but not all, of the leaves. If the leaf had a vein that was lighter in color than the leaf, I created the light vein by painting the leaf in between the veins (negative painting again).

When organisations hire me to teach Intermediate level workshops this is one of the topics I teach that the students really enjoy when they finally "get it". It is confusing at first, but when you get it, you will enjoy this painting technique.

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