Practice makes perfect. While far from perfect, I have been trying to improve how I do negative painting. Flowers work well for this, but I have also decided to conscientiously work on flower painting.
I looked over at Pixabay and searched for “white flower” – several came up, some too busy with other things, some too simple, some lacking definition. What I wanted were white petals sticking out from something. As I already did daisies, I thought ones a bit simpler but still having interesting characteristics could be nice. Anemones of varying sorts came up, so off I went.
Above is the first one. I drew in the outline of the flower and then painted the center of the flowers but not any shadows on the petals. From there, I worked on the negative painting, trying to paint around the white petals. Then I let it dry and, as you can see in the lower left, put in a darker wash to outline leaves and a stem or two.
The second painting below was a bit more complex. I did the shadows on the flower petals – still white – after drawing in the basic shapes. You can see my pencil lines throughout. Then I did the leaves and stems in a lighter green. From there, I mixed in greens and blues for the most part and worked to paint around the white and shadowed petals, looking for contrast, coolness and warmth. After I let the painting dry, I went in again with shadows, augmenting a few petals here and there. The final step was to paint in the yellow flower centers with a dab and press of the brush.
I rather like these – they don’t look too overworked compared to the previous ones. My style is looser, which I prefer. As well, I worked with tube paints and a bigger palette so as to mix more colors. The paper this time is 100% cotton, a student grade one, but acceptable.
Just because these are better than previous negative painting studies doesn’t mean I’ve gotten there yet! So much more to learn – and a lot to do in that learning process.