Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

WIP – Break

Yes, I did paint today, but I have not photographed it yet, so thought I would  elaborate a little on negative painting.

In any type of art negative space is important, however, in Watercolor negative painting is one of THE most important techniques. Combined with another technique, Hard Edge/Soft Edge, watercolor pieces emerge which POP the positive spaces resulting in a more beautiful, dramatic work. SO what is negative drawing or painting, you might ask…… This is a very simple act of drawing or painting around the object and forming the space without actually drawing or painting in the object. SO when I paint a bird, I consider each feather as the object I am painting, and paint around it to form it. Now if you have observed feathers actually on a bird, you will notice there is a little crevice shadow under each feather. So the technique hard edge/soft edge, helps render this shadow during the negative painting process. What is hard edge/soft edge you ask? You are such a good audience. (so unlike the rowdy mob at the back of the room having another food fight!) Hard edge/soft edge is done by having two brushes ready, one filled with paint, and one filled with water. After putting the paint down, you run the wet brush along one edge of the paint, leaving a hard edge on one side, and a soft edge on the other. The soft edge blends into the paper, avoiding leaving a hard line. So Viola! Watercolor in a nutshell!

Before taking watercolor classes, like most people, I only paid attention to the positive spaces in my life. I didn’t realize that I could paint the negative spaces any way I like, which helps POP the positive spaces, making them more important and beautiful. Hope this makes you look at the negative spaces in your life and decide how to paint them!


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