I am a long-time fan of negative painting, and it’s a technique that I use to rescue or enhance my paintings. One of my favorite artist instructors is Linda Kemp. Check out her use of negative painting at http://www.lindakemp.com/. My favorite local instructor who teaches this technique is Maureen Brouillette. Her nationally-known father Al Brouillette wrote “The Evolving Picture: How to Manipulate Your Paints Until you Get a Painting You Like”. If you can find this book, buy it!
Recently I took an online course “Painting flowers in mixed media from imagination” from Sandrine Pellissier at http://paintingdemos.com/ and it inspired me to develop this painting. She starts her abstract design from scratch, then applies negative painting and drawing embellishment to finish the design. For an explanation of her technique, go to http://paintingdemos.com/still-life-in-negative-painting-a-step-by-step-painting-tutorial/
Rather than start from a new abstract design, I decided to look through my extensive pile of “failed” watercolors to find a victim to experiment with her technique. It was an old flower painting that I was no longer attached to, so I decided to stick with the floral theme. The first step was to identify interesting shapes that could become flowers, leaves, a vase, or something organic. I drew my selections with a violet colored pencil, looking to create interesting shapes. The center of the flower became a shape on its own, perhaps the focal point of the painting.
The next step was the painting of the background in white (a mix of white acrylic, gesso, medium, and water). This the “negative” technique that creates the positive design. The white puts a glow back into the composition.
Next I drew connecting stems to gather the shapes into a bouquet still life. For embellishment, I used purple colored pencil on the “roses” to draw a abstract contour lines. I used black crayon and green colored pencil on the leaves to draw lines. I moved traces of yellow, pink and green around the white background. I used some pink pencil in the central “mum.” I used light yellow-green acrylic to paint the implied table top and some of the leaves and organic shapes. I painted the neck of the vase and striped the body with gold acrylic ink. Then I used the gold to paint around the shapes, which had a further flattening effect on the design. Next I used black crayon on the vase stripes and signed it.
The I scanned the finished version and looked at it on the screen. I decided to paint out a leaf for better balance. So is “Floral Tapestry” finished? I’m taking it for critique.