Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Painting the Negative Space

A light subject can be carved out by painting the negative space around it.  But many people have problems thinking in the negative.

In this painting of Old Orchard Beach Pier, you can see this approach in the first wash.  The buildings on the pier, some of the closer pilings, and some of the surf pools are left when I painted the space behind and around them. This requires good planning, a large loaded brush and a rather fast hand.  

The second and subsequent washes can be painted as positive darker shapes. Cast shadows can cut into the reserved lights  But the first wash that carves out a clear light shape by leaving it alone is the most important stage.  Study the first wash and the final painting and you'll see how saving those large white shapes was a key to the final painting.

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