An easy & fun way to practice negative painting is by layering leaf shapes one on top of the other. In a previous post I showed you the simplicity of negative painting ( http://wp.me/pqBNY-KB ). Now I’ll do a painting with a variety of leaf shapes showing how I’ll create depth within the painting.
I start the painting with a colorful wash. Don’t be afraid to make your wash full of colors and textures. Use your favorite colors or try experimenting with colors you rarely use. We all have those tubes of paint we purchased but haven’t fallen in love with. Squeeze some of those paints onto your palette and play with them. This is also an opportunity to see how your colors mix together or a good time to use new pigments to see how you like the colors. I recently purchased a variety of new Quinacridone colors that I love playing with. The wash I start my painting on are thoroughly dried before I proceed with adding the leaf shapes.
The leaf shapes can be traced from a real or artificial leaf or drawn free hand. I then choose a color slightly darker than the original color of the first wash. I paint the negative shape around each leaf shape. The new wash will be blended to the outside edges of the paper. You can see the salt I added to my second wash which will add more texture at this stage of the painting.
When you complete a layer of shapes and it is fully dry draw the next layer of shapes placing them “UNDER” the 1st layer. NEVER PLACE THE NEXT LAYER ON TOP OF ANY PREVIOUS LIGHTER SHAPES OR LEAVES & NEVER PAINT OVER THE LIGHTER SHAPES…ONLY AROUND THEM. The only time I will paint any surface leaves will be to detail them or help separate them with shadows.
Here’s a closer look so you can see the details I added to some of the leaves.
Each wash I add gets darker. Don’t be shy using a juicy dark mix to create depth. Let the viewer see how far you can push the background within your painting. Do add some details to the leaves being careful not to make them too dark or they will no longer sit on the surface of the painting.
I also added vines or branches to the painting using the same negative painting technique, I just painted around them to make them appear. I splattered the completed painting with a beautiful gold watercolor paint by Holbein. I love using Holbein’s gold & silver paints to add a bit of light to my paintings.
This painting was fun, filled with exciting colors & shapes. Try negative painting and shift the way you see an object. You can always paint a leaf, now challenge yourself by painting the space outside the leaf and let the leaf appear as the light or unpainted object on the paper.
Once you start seeing objects in the negative you’ll love painting outside the lines.
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