What is negative painting in watercolor? We have been studying design elements and principles and understand we are really just painting shapes. These shapes can define space and these spaces fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Whenever you paint a darker value against a lighter one you are able to define positive shapes and negative ones. Paint a blue sky around a white cloud – you have painted the negative space of sky around the positive shape of a cloud.
Negative painting can add more interest to your work. With careful planning it can be used to bring shapes forward and create depth.This can highlight main focal points. Instead of using masking fluid, apply the first washes preserving the whites and light areas. This gives a fresher look with less hard and unnatural edges. Continue developing the painting by finding more shapes and depth by negatively painting a different color or deeper value of the same color.
We can bring areas more into a central focal point by creating contrasts of value ie: darkest darks against lightest lights or contrasts of hue. We have explored the classic complementary color theme where “opposite” colors enchance each other. This can be used at a focal point and can be subtle with more neutralized complements beside each other or high “chroma” – the intensity of the hue (color).
Color themes can be mono-chromatic: different values of the same color; analogous: values that lie adjacent to one another on the color wheel; complementary: colors directly opposite to one another on the color wheel; split complementary: choose one color and use the color on each side of its complement on the wheel.
HOW TO – Positive Negatives in Watercolor Painting
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