This morning I thought I would do another “one morning wonder” (like, I wonder why I did it, why! it looks wonderful!), but as I laid down the first washes I realized that I needed to paint the foliage with negative painting. Bingo! The lesson of the other day came to the forefront of my brain. Let’s see how it progresses. Here is the first scan.
Today I experienced a breakthrough in my painting. I intellectually understand negative painting, but today I physically understood negative painting. I just some how “got it” and this painting began to shift in its creation. Our bodies and our minds are so connected, but in this world of a separation of physical health from mental health, the connection is oftentimes lost. Personally, I do have a bit of problem connecting the right brain and the left brain from a long ago head injury, so when that connection occurs, it is really a very physical awareness. I’ve had that when studying math. Today I had it while studying lights and darks.
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.
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.
A while back I read an article that a 19th century artist – it may be John Singer Sargent – used wax as a resist in watercolor painting. That was a bit of a surprise as I never thought a “professional” painter would do that. We used crayons and watercolors together in elementary school, and it was a lot of fun. Not having any crayons, I got out a white candle and scribbled away in a palm tree sort of shape. Then I painted, beginning with the yellows and then moving into darker colors. I don’t recall many of the colors I used, but they do include Yellow Ochre, Hooker’s Green, May Green, Payne’s Grey, Ruby Red, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue. The wax served to keep white spaces white, obviously. And, I actually used negative painting ti create some of the shapes in the fronds and trunk of the tree.