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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Magic of Negative Painting


'The Sounds of Summer'          20x25       pastel          ©Karen Margulis
available $450
I wanted the flowers to pop. I wanted them to feel like they were growing right off the paper. I wanted to make space for the bumblebees to fly in and out of the flowers. But it wasn't happening. The flowers in my painting looked like they were pasted on top of the green foliage.  I need to find a way to pull the flowers away from the foliage.

I added some more detail to the flowers.I added a lighter pink to some of the petals. I darkened the flower centers. But I still wasn't getting the effect I wanted.  Then I remembered! If adding to the flowers wasn't helping I could adjust what was BEHIND the flowers. Why not make use of the Negative space.....clarify what was behind the flowers and foliage.

Before adding the negative painting marks
I picked up a dark cool green pastel and used it to paint the areas behind some of the leaves and flowers. I saw an immediate improvement. By darkening the space behind the leaves it made them appear brighter and lighter. They began to pop!

I used the same idea to paint more of the light blue sky around the flowers that were placed against the sky. In the original painting the top flowers were blending into the distant tree mass. As soon as I added some lighter blue marks behind the flowers (negative painting) they popped!
Scroll up to the top image to see the results of just a few negative painting marks.

a closeup of the dark negative marks
Remember.....you always have two ways to improve something in your painting....either change the object itself or change what is BEHIND the object.

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