Negative Painting is Child’s Play

•May 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I have a passion for negative painting and I spent the day sharing my excitement of painting with my 4-year-old niece, Brianna. She works feverishly on any project I give her and listens to each step as I led her through the process. I drew the outline of a flower and she did the rest.

Using 2 colors she added a wash by working wet in wet. She has no problem dripping or splattering the paint on the watercolor paper.

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Bri Painting 4-2015A_________________________________________________________________

She allows the pigment to run as she turns the paper around and up & down.

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Bri Painting 4-2015B________________________________________________________________________

She carefully paints outside the lines. That’s how simple negative painting can be.

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Bri Painting 4-2015C________________________________________________________________

I challenged her by showing her that as she changes colors between the petals she must carry a little of the previous color into the next color. She understood this concept and was very proud of herself as she applied this technique to the entire painting.

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Bri Painting 4-2015D________________________________________________________________

Bri Painting 4-2015E______________________________________________________________________

She was a happy little girl as she painted. I am very careful not to say ‘No’ or ‘YOU CAN’T DO THAT.’ I want her to have complete freedom to express herself and have no boundaries placed upon her as she creates her art.

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Bri Painting 4-2015F_________________________________________________________________

This is her finished painting. I love the many choices she made like her use of colors. She even understood the concept of layering the leaf shape so it is placed behind the petals. Her signature show that she truly is a 4-year-old child. Her painting is framed and hanging in my home, not just because she painted it, but because I adore her sweet little watercolor painting.

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Paint with Me

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Through Negative Painting Flowers Appear

•March 24, 2015 • 6 Comments

All runners loosen up by stretching their muscles before starting to run. As an artist I use colorful washes to get my creative juices flowing, that’s how I warm up in the studio before I get down to the business of painting. Doing a few quick washes, keeping them very wet and allowing the colors to run & flow I do these daily. When dry I can decide to use them as backgrounds for paintings or as practice paper to work out new ideas or subjects for future paintings.

This painting was done on one of these washes.

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FLOWERS 1
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I love negative painting. I have started to pull out flower shapes by darkening the area around the individual petals.

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FLOWERS 2

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What makes it most interesting is to constantly change the colors, edges & shapes.

As the flowers take shape I begin to detail the singular flowers.

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FLOWERS 3

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This painting has an element of mystery that I find exciting. Lost & found edges are dispersed through out the image which add interest. The viewer has to fill in the blanks by using their imagination, that makes them participate in my art.

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Paint with Me

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Watercolor Washes = a Snowy Sunrise in 4 Steps

•March 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 I mostly paint in my studio but on a snowy day I enjoy painting in the comfort of my home. This sunrise was done in about 1 hour and because of a simple yet colorful wash it makes a strong statement.

I sketched out a horizon line & the shape of a stream of water. Using a wet in wet technique I applied 3 colors, pink, yellow & orange and allowed them to mix on the paper.

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Winter Sunset__________________________________________________________

While the paper was still slightly damp I added the distant tree line so it appears diffused. Don’t make it too dark or too solid. Allow the light to come through.

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Winter Sunset2__________________________________________________________

 Several trees were added along the river bank. It’s a snow scene therefore the trees need to be baron of leaves.

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Winter Sunset3__________________________________________________________

 The final step is to add the shadows. I feel that shadows ground the trees and describe the shape of the land.

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Winter Sunset4__________________________________________________________

 Four easy steps and the results are beautiful. This simple painting would be great to do in the colors of all 4 seasons. Keep it simple, keep it colorful and keep it fun.

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Paint with Me

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Watercolor Wash = Water View Painting in 3 steps

•February 24, 2015 • 5 Comments

Practice makes perfect or so they say. Well that’s true when it comes to painting with watercolors. Practicing a colorful wash using watercolor can be very challenging therefore I practice constantly. I try different color combinations and some work while others fail miserably.  But because of the importance of doing a wash I never feel any attempt is futile I just look at it as a warm up exercise, something to get the creative juices flowing.  __________________________________________________________

Snow Day 2aUsing a combination of yellow, rose & blue I do a variegated wash allowing the colors to mingle on the paper. I choose which color will be dominant and that will set the mood for the painting. I let the painting dry naturally so the granulation in the paint pigment has time to float & settle down in the tooth of the paper. I love the effect that is achieved when it’s completely dry.

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Snow Day 2bNext I add a sliver of land. The water view, from my home on Long Island NY, overlooks Fire Island so that’s the line of land I add to my paintings. I make sure that it never appears too dark because I don’t want it to be the focus point of my painting.

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Snow Day 2cThe last step is adding the grasses that grow along the shore. These grasses are constantly changing depending on the wind, time of day and time of year. I enjoy painting them with my rigger brush. I use at least 3 different colors and as I’m working I occasionally drag a clean wet brush across them so they do not look too overdone or perfect.

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This painting is about 4″ x 11″ and I spent no more than 1 hour to paint it including drying time. Remember this is a warm up painting and I try not to fuss too much, it is all about using colors I like and letting them do the work for me. Watercolor washes bring me great satisfaction because the results cannot always be predicted. But whatever the results are I know I will learn something to make my next wash even more exciting than the previous one.

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Paint with Me

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Colorful Washes make a Simple Flower

•February 15, 2015 • 1 Comment

Almost every time I start a watercolor painting it begins with a colorful wash. A watercolor wash is a transparent layer of color or colors. It can be soft & subdued or loud & vibrant. When completely dry you can add another wash over the first to change the color or add a color veil to the original color. As you add additional layers of color each previous color is visible. This creates a beautiful glow of colors.

I started this flower painting with a colorful wash using pink, orange & yellow.  While slightly wet I added a little salt to add texture.

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ALONE 1

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When completely dry I penciled in a sketch of a single flower. I used the small white spot on the paper as the edge of my flower to add contrast and make that my focal point.

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ALONE 2_____________________________________________________

I added a second wash by negative painting around the flower with a slightly darker color using blue, pink & green. This allowed the flower shape to appear.

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ALONE 3______________________________________________________

Next I separated the petals with a small amount of shadowing. A little bit of details to add texture on the head and the painting is complete. Looking at the finished results I’m glad I used the white spot on the paper as my focal point. That’s where my darkest dark meets my lightest light.

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ALONE 4_____________________________________________________

If I asked a dozen artists to paint this single flower each artist would add their own style and come up with a painting completely different from each another. I choose my colors by how I feel or by what color is calling out to me at the moment. This flower makes me feel cheerful, it’s a great project to do on a cold dreary winter day.

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Paint with Me

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Re-Working an old Watercolor Painting

•January 19, 2015 • 8 Comments

I have several drawers of old or incomplete paintings. Some are paintings that I’m not quite sure if they are finished (isn’t that an artists true dilemma, but I will save that subject for another post). Some are paintings I did in my beginner years that I save to reflect on how far I have traveled as an artist. Some are paintings that either went horribly wrong or I got over enthusiastic while painting and found myself lost and having no clue as to how to finish what I started.

While digging through the drawer I came across an old painting of Hydrangea and although it is about 10 years old I decided to re-work it to see if I could improve it.

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This is the original painting. I love the color, shapes & texture within the painting but felt there was nothing keeping the viewer’s eye from drifting off the edges. From one side of the painting to the other everything looks the same. A large mass of similar petals with no value changes.

before & after Hydrangers 1

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Starting at the top I darkened the right corner to allow the flowers to come forward & give the illusion of depth in that area. By adding a midtone wash to the top left the flower edges appear to be in sunlight. I negative painted dark shapes in the center of the painting to break up the flowers into individual blooms. Along the bottom I painted a darker color as I reshaped the flowers.  Lastly, I created a shadow within some of the blooms to pull some petals forward & push some petals back.

before & after Hydrangers 2_________________________________________________

Now there is much more interest along the outer edges of this painting which prevents the eye from drifting out of the painting. The darker corners better frame the subject matter. The darker negative shapes help distinguish the flower blooms making them more interesting to the viewer.

I would say that this is a big improvement from the original painting I did many years ago.

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If you are like me I bet you have some old paintings that you could re-work using the skills & knowledge you’ve gained through the years since the painting was started. It was fun to re-think this painting and find a new way to approach it. I know I have grown and learned a lot in the past years but by doing this exercise I proved to myself that I am on track to being an even better artist as time goes on.

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Paint with Me

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Animal Eyes in Watercolor ~ Loose & Colorful

•January 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

In May of 2013 I wrote a blog about my beginning practice of painting animal eyes. I have continued my exercises of eyes and I am excited to share these with you.

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Art 1-2-2015 eye2 Art 1-2-2015 eye1_________________________________________________________

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Art 1-2-2015 eye4 Art 1-2-2015 eye3______________________________________________________

As I worked on these eyes I did not have a specific animal in mind. All I focused on was the shapes & colors which makes them arresting & impressive.

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You can see my earlier renditions of eyes at these link “Animal Eyes in Watercolor”

and “Animal Eyes Continued”

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Paint with Me

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