After “getting” negative space yesterday, I decided to make a complicated drawing and “work” at negative space. I have orange lilies blooming in pots on the patio every year, and they are brilliantly orange with piles of leaves in all directions. What better source of light and dark, overlaps, medium shades? And in the afternoon sun. So, here you go.
Much more pleased with the second rendering of this painting, based on Rick Surowicz’s video. The black branches don’t work, but the negative space does. This time, rather than using painter’s tape, I used Pebeo masking fluid for white areas, and then later to create branches on already-painted areas.
Meanwhile, the counters on the vanities are in – but it may be the plumber will be in later.
I started a weekly Friday afternoon watercolor class yesterday. The assignment was based on a negative painting by Rick Surowicz, who does amazing work. You can find him on YouTube and on Facebook. This is the video from which this painting is a derivative.
A few things . . . first, I didn’t have any frisket / masking fluid in class. I had barely anything! All my stuff – most of my stuff – is still packed up from the house repairs. I ransacked a bit and found some things. Like tape – so I used tape to mask off some areas inside the painting. Second, I used student-grade paper, and some of the paper’s surface came off when I removed the tape. I think you can see the areas if you look closely.
The way I see it, the whole point of this exercise is to work on negative painting. Exact replication of Surowicz’s painting is not the point – the point is to learn from it. I struggle with negative painting, but learning to just let go of things when I paint and let things happen, while hard, is something I am finally beginning to do. To quote the Beatles, “let it be, let it be”!
The painting was, to a point, successful. I did some negative painting. I wanted to work with complementary colors and washes, but try to control a bit, such as the leaf shapes, here and there.
Now that it is done, the real question is which end is up? Click on the first image to move through all four versions.
I think I like this one the best (fourth in the series). It’s below. Maybe it expresses the wind and whirling leaves and branches and twigs.
Now that I feel a bit more accomplished in some of my watercolor skills, I have taken the time to think about a few things. Specifically, what to do next. I think negative space, or negative painting, seems like the next best step. I am not sure why – it just feels right. That is how I painted my two moonlit sycamores. Now it is time to paint their leaves. Below is a photo I took the other day, which is my reference point.
I started out with three primary colors: Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Yellow, and Permanent Rose. First, I wet the paper and then made a few distinct areas for each color. Then I tipped the paper around (it’s mounted on a board) so the colors would blend and bleed. As it is probably only 90# paper, there was buckling and pooling, but decided to just let things happen. After it dried, I drew in the shapes of the leaves, and then worked around the leaves and twigs with a wash of varying strengths that combined Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. The veins were a bit of Hookers, Sap, and Cobalt Green. Altogether, there are multiple layers of washes / glazes – some successful, some not. The final overlaying wash was a mixture of Carbazole Violet, Cobalt and Ultramarine Blues.
This painting has a lot of problems – too tight, too overdone – but the problems also present future solutions, which I hope to visit in the not-too-distant future. I feel like it is moving toward mud, too, which is something I always have to watch out for.