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Negatively painted trees

Negatively painted trees

This is Class #2 of the watercolor class.

Class #1, we discussed “tonal” washes, where we covered the entire paper in washes (of different colors). The washes were pretty uniform – it provided a great medium tone for you to add your lights and darks.

Class #2, we did negative painting, which is where you paint the subject by leaving it blank and paint the negative space around it.

Teacher laid down a gradient wash, so it was a wash going from blue to green to yellow. (Note to self: gradient washes are great for backgrounds/landscapes.) Then he picked out some trees by painting slightly darker around the trees. Going even darker, he picked out the trees behind that.

He had done this with grapes, going from negative painting, which is a great way to indicate a well-lighted subject, to some positive painting of some of the darker, more shadowy grapes. (Clearly, with a dark subject, you can’t paint around it any darker than it is, otherwise it’s lost in shadow.) Negative painting can also be used for fencing (picket fences and beach fencing came to mind.)

Successful watercolor has both positive and negative painting.