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.
Well – let’s just say that the lilies suck. The masking fluid tore up the surface of the paper, which is student grade to begin with, and the soap suds from straight dishwashing soap seemed to have remove the sizing – or a lot of it – from the paper. The paper itself is good for studies with less water, and I enjoy using it for play and experimentation.
The lilies are out of proportion. Rather a disappointing experience, to say the least.
Still, I am inclined to want to think about this painting. In reality, this style of painting is better suited, in my opinion, to a graphic presentation. It’s not “painterly” in the way I want to do watercolors. If nothing else, that is my take-away from this experience.
Besides being too graphic for my taste in watercolor, the masking fluid was a disaster. Straight dishwashing soap does not work on the paper, even though my brush didn’t suffer in the least. I’ve used a diluted soap solution with better results. I also would prefer to not use masking, simply because I want to keep the process as clean as possible, with few if any extras in the way of the process.
In the end, I think learning what you don’t like is fundamental to many things, whether it’s a job or a way of painting. This helps to focus your thoughts on your goals because you rid yourself of an unwanted item. I still plan to focus on negative painting, but want to find a different way to approach it.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am an impatient person, particularly when it comes to painting watercolor. The look of spontaneous painting requires forethought and planning, even for the simplest of pictures. I keep falling for that lie! Therefore, in an effort to tame my monkey mind, I decided to work on negative painting, which is not an easy thing to do. Looking through YouTube, I found a lovely example of negative painting by Krzysztof Kowalski, which you can view below.
This painting study requires the usage of masking fluid in addition to working up layers of colors. My sketch came out fairly good, as you can see below, but the first layer of water over the masking fluid turned rather comical.
I didn’t dilute my dishwashing soap before dipping my brush in it, then the mask. The result, when I began to wet the paper, was soap suds! Okay, dilute it next time. I think the density of the dish soap also may not allow the masking fluid to adhere properly – I’ll find this out when I begin to remove it. I spent a few hours painting the layers; this is my afternoon’s work.