A friend and I were playing with watercolor, making simple designs that would work well for making into Christmas cards. It wasn’t until I was putting on some finishing marks with a pen that I discovered a couple of birds who had flown down to roost on the wreath!
Sometimes people ask me, “Do you feel like you are selling your children when you sell your art?” And I smile and reply that its more like having one of my children get married. I am thrilled that someone else likes them enough to have them in their home!
Three weeks ago I was out painting in the garden of a marina and as I finished, a group was going by on their way to a boat. They stopped and complimented me on the painting and enquired about my web site. I gave them a business card, picked up my gear, and went home for lunch. A couple of days later, I received an email asking if the picture was for sale. This resulted in a studio tour and the purchase of several of my pieces. This was so encouraging that I felt a hand-painted card was in order for a thank you note.
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.
Negative painting is the term used for painting the spaces around an object or shape. One essentially paints that which isn’t there (the negative), leaving the object (the positive) as the lighter shape. Today I used this technique to make valentines, since Valentine’s Day is next week.
My first step was to tear the watercolor paper into the size I wanted for cards. The dimensions were mandated by the size of the envelopes. Then I taped the paper to my painting board, covering over 1/2″ on each side to leave a border. I wet the surface and put in a light wash of the selected colors.
After letting this dry, I traced some hearts on the paper. I painted around the hearts.
When this layer dried, I traced some more hearts, overlapping them with the first layer. Then I painted around both layers of hearts.
After several times of layering in hearts, I penned in a border, removed the tape and had a finished card.
After taking a week off from painting because we were traveling and helping my daughter with her new baby, this was a good exercise to get me thinking like an artist again and energized to finish the projects already started.