I gave myself a mind-stretching exercise today, involving both positive and negative painting. Positive painting is painting the shape of an object, which in watercolor usually results in a darker object on a lighter field. Negative painting is painting the space around an object. In watercolor this usually results in a lighter object on a darker ground. My goal today was to paint shapes whose edges described objects in the positive on one side and in the negative on the other edge.
It may be easier to see in this photo I took after painting a couple of the shapes.
The top of the shape describes a fern, and the bottom space also describes ferns, although I think I could use some work on the negative shapes.
I will use this painting as a card, but its value to me was greater as an exercise in learning to think about the edges of shapes.
“It takes 120 bad paintings to know something about painting.” – Larry Seiler as quoted by Jeff Mahorney in his blog
Each painting is small in format and should be completed in about an hour or less.
My goals are to improve my technique, to paint faster, and to gain experience with a variety of subjects.