Negative Painting & Landscapes

This post is in response to all of you who have contacted me and wondered how to incorporate negative painting in my paintings. I don’t hesitate to share how I do it since everything that I have learned along the way is because of someone else sharing their knowledge (Linda Kemp being one of them!) and I am very grateful to them. While I have not heard of anyone doing things exactly the way that I do it,but I’m also sure that I am not alone!

REFERENCE: Fallen Giants

I usually start with a canvas, although I have also experimented with Aquabord, Claybord and wood panel. My favorites are Aquabord and Claybord using this technique but it is difficult for me to get a regular supply of them, so I use canvas most often.

My first step is to lay in a background colour. The colour that I chose in this painting was Pyrrole Orange. I chose this orange because it is the complementary colour to Phthalo Blue (red shade), which I had decided to use for the snow.  The Pyrrole Orange is laid in rather loosely. It is the bottom layer and will only show through here and there where I leave gaps of paint and where the Phthalo Blue and other colours is most transparent.

Next, while looking at my reference photo (I take all my own photographs), I paint in the darkest darks wherever they may be. In this situation, I mixed Phthalo Blue and a bit of the Orange and painted the tree and branch shapes and the darks of the fallen tree shapes and shadows. It helps to map in these shapes with white chalk beforehand in a complicated piece like this one.

Most of the hemlock branches have a tad lighter tone, so I mixed Phthalo Blue and Cadmium Yellow Dark to the desired tone and painted that colour in quite loosely to indicate hemlock branches and the trees in the background. Notice that the orange shows through quite a bit in spots. I kinda liked that. I thought it looked rather painterly.

My next step was to paint the sky showing through the branches. I used Cadmium Yellow mixed with Titanium White in varying amounts to show the sun being stronger in one area. I laid in the colour by shaping the the hemlock branches and making some additional branches as well. After the sky, it was time for the snow. I made up a palette of successive tones of Phthalo Blue and Titanium White and painted in the tones from dark to light ending with the lightest tones highlighting the snow. At this point, “Fallen Giants” was essentially finished.

I hope that this little ‘tutorial’ is beneficial. This is the first time I have ever shared this type of information. I’ve always been on the receiving end!

Let me know what you think.