In a strange combination of timing and challenge – I decided to see if I could paint a dozen roses before Valentines Day. This was not a quantity challenge however, if that were true I could draw one rose and paint it over and over again – which is not what gets me up early in the morning! This challenge was actually to explore the technique of negative painting.
Negative painting is a technique in which the artist paints around the “objects” that are to be the focal point of the picture – – i.e. painting the negative shapes. Many artists who paint in this manner first put a wash of color over the entire image area, then add color in the “background” building up the dark areas around that focal point.
I had fun exploring this method of painting – and felt like I gained a bit more confidence and ability as I went with each of these small images. Painting one rose to spare – I ended up painting a bakers dozen.
Reflecting on the negative space painting technique, I would have to say though it isn’t my “favorite”. I will continue to practice it – perhaps I will enjoy it more as time goes on? I do think this would be a very helpful technique for anyone who is interested in improving their “seeing” skills. i.e. seeing what is really in the image one is trying to reproduce. Painting “around” the focal object forces you to think less of “what” you are painting, and more of the shapes you are painting… and that is good… because the picture we have in our brain of what we want to paint is often not what that thing looks like when you try to paint it!
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