Negative painting is painting around an object, usually using darker paint around a more lightly painted object. Anyone who paints finds this quite often to be a bit of a mind tweak, so it is always worthwhile practicing. For me, negative painting is best done with the subject matter, if a photograph, done upside down. Then it – and everything else – just becomes a shape. Shapes are easy to relate to, more so than a flower or a whatever.
I really cannot paint flowers easily. I don’t want to create realistic paintings of flowers, but impressions of flowers. Being able to express a flower and to know what it is appeals to me far more to me than a scientific flower illustration. Don’t get me wrong – botanical illustration is stunning and something I love to see and admire them – but I want a looser style.
One way to express a flower is to create it in its environment. A field of flowers can dance in the wind. A bouquet of either one type of flower or many has its own beauty – the shape of petals and leaves and stems creating their own designs. Stems and leaves seen through clear glass are distorted fascinating to see.
For now, though, I just wanted to practice negative painting. I drew my flowers, and went to work, laying down basic colors and then coming in with darker colors to create shapes, such as leaves and stems. I did the daisies first, and they are rather crude. The poppies were next, and while the colors are muddy in places, it was more successful as far as what I was trying to accomplish.
Nothing great . . . 6×9 on Strathmore Vision 140# paper.
What is the purpose of this sketch? First, trying to lead the eye to the two trees on the opposite river bank. Second, trying to reflect warm and cool light on the snow and ice of the river.
Problems? Paper is not great, but good for these kind of studies. Also using different paints – Schmincke pan paints, which are more saturated than the travel paints I used the past two days. And, as always, my sense of perspective is off. I am not quite sure why and it really bugs me!! Oh, well, perhaps one day I will find the answer to that problem.
Thinking about the atmospheric perspective, it seemed I needed softer edges in the distance. So, I wet the paper, blurred it a bit, and smeared a light mess of a blue-grey to give some distance. Then I took the painting into LR and decided to adjust the vertical perspective a bit, tilting the picture back a bit, and then doing a “smart fill” in the areas left white by that adjustment.
Don’t know if it improved the picture, but I think it might have as I often feel as if I am falling into my painting from above – sort of like a bad dream.
I am trying to do something every morning, a quick sketch from a photo I took, or something that catches my fancy. It’s not easy and most of the time I am disappointed by what occurs. The reason? It seems that often the only way to save something is to add lines! I wonder if I will ever produce a “real” painting that is more than just sketch . . . Ah, well. The point is to do something as often as possible.
Thus, a sketch of a Fremontia, a yellow-flowered bush found here in California. It’s a woody shrub that splotches bright flowers against dark leaves. I look forward to them every spring.