Negative space painting in watercolor:
By Sally Cannon Ellis
Good shapes are vital in negative painting.
1. Start by drawing good shapes. DRAW.
2. Watch for the Negative Space. That is the holes between the shapes that you could place your hand through without touching the object. WATCH SPACE BETWEEN SHAPES.
· Also called Notan, a Japanese word meaning dark-light. It is the design principle defining the interaction between positive (light) and negative (dark) space. *See Notan by Dorr Bothwell and Marlys Mayfield.
3. Begin by painting a very pale mingled wash on your 1/8 sheet watercolor paper. Let it dry.
4. Paint around each shape you have drawn by using a light flat or graded wash. This is called Glazing or Layering. THIS IS BEST OBTAINED BY THE USE OF TRANSPARENT PIGMENTS. Cobalt, Quinacridone Rose and Azo Yellow or Aureolin .
Let it dry.
5. Redraw more shapes paint around those. Keep building the design.
6. Build your design from Light to Dark shapes. * Note Barbara Swenson YouTube demo.
7. Below first steps and to the end by Sister Ellis
Dark's in watercolor require a knowledge of viscosity or the amount of water used with the pigment. This is a great skill and a requires good practice.
For this assignment begin with:
I will be using the Old Masters Limited Palette of Yellow Ocher, (my yellow), Burnt Sienna, my red) and Paynes Gray, (my blue). All other colors greens, oranges, and violets will be mixed from these three primary colors. Yes the color harmony is very muted (low intensity).
Step by step examples are forth coming.
Taggart Lake is a favorite family hiking area as well as Surprise Lake in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. The Above painting is a watercolor palette of Cobalt Turquoise Light, Cobalt Blue and Nickle Azo Yellow. The red range from Winsor Red to Indian Red. A great day. I love the striking white Granite rock in this area with the dynamic vertical pine.
Here is another view of Taggart Lake this painting is completed with an earth palette of Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna and Quinacridone Burnt Sienna. Logs and rocks are powerful patterns and unique underwater challenge.
Researching the watercolor pigments you use by creating charts or swatches of color on scratch watercolor paper is essential part of becoming a watercolor technician. I am constantly working on my brush skill of a good straight line and steadiness. Sometimes 1/2 inch masking tape comes in handy for me to clean up nicely.
Quality brush work is like daily morning scales on the piano. Practice practice and practice. No Perfect Practice and Practice and Practice. Lets watch my progress on this. *Note to self. Self: If its worth doing its worth doing well. Self: Noted.
Here is a little design with a variety of fragment shapes. Note the small flat washes and hard edges. Delightful