Nature in the Negative


I’ve been fascinated by negative painting for months, but haven’t had much time to experiment with it.   Yesterday, I watched part of an online lesson by Linda Kemp, who is known for her negative painting techniques.  She wrote a couple of books, which can be found here and she is a fabulous teacher.  I don’t blame her at all for the fact that my next painting looks more like deformed armless people, or perhaps, mutant tulips.  That’s all me, lol.  Someone here once told me I should post my mistakes.  Well, I hope you’re reading this, because here’s one in all its glory:

0418 2

I was tempted not to post it, but I absolutely love the colors.  So it’s not a total art fail.  Plus, I learned a few things about patience, which is why I believe God gave me two things:  1) the strong desire to make artwork out of floral subjects and 2) the absolute inability to do so!  He is trying to get me to become more patient.  I’m not sure either one will ever happen, but I suppose if it’s meant to be, it will!  πŸ™‚  Anyway, seeing both of these now on the screen, I really want to convert them into two huge puddles of paint and make a whole new painting combining the two colors.

I hope YOU have lots of patience, because I found the negative painting techniques to be quite addictive, so you may be seeing more of them.   Permission to cover your eyes is granted at all times!    Enjoy your Saturday, and I hope you dance your way through this gorgeous spring weekend!

53 thoughts on “Nature in the Negative

  1. These are awesome! Another
    Interesting new technique! I look forward to more and will never cover my eyes! There is always something special in each piece you so simply because YOU created it! Happy splendid Saturday!

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  2. Ahh – you are discovering the joys of negative painting! Wonderful! Linda Kemp does a good job explaining it and giving exercises. As you keep experimenting, it will get easier. It takes a different way of thinking than we are trained to do most of our lives! I look forward to seeing more of these paintings.

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      1. Leaves would work well, especially those that have lobes on them like oak or maple. Try getting three leaves of the same plant that are different sizes and putting all three in each layer. (If you turn the leaves over for the next layer, it doubles your pattern since they are rarely symmetrical.)

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    1. Thanks. For the bird I used a stencil is created from a drawing. So that one was much easier. For the tulips, I tried sketching from a photo, staying true to the irregular shapes but then once I got the paint in, I lost my pencil for the most part and tried to wing it. You’d think having a seagull for an av would help, but alas…

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  3. Don’t destroy anything! They are both great. I was told by an artist in a lesson that you should keep an open eye and go with the flow. To me the tulips are realistic.

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  4. Laura, these are very far from being mistakes!!! They are all wonderful! I love them both, and especially the tulips! Hope to see a lot more of them!!! I can relate to your thoughts about patience though – similar problems here for sure. πŸ˜‰ The good in it: the better we get, the less patience we need!

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  5. WOWZA! Both of these paintings are beaUtiFul Laura! Glad you suggested this artist’s book as I realized I owned it! Hahaha! I have been working on a negative painting this week. But I think I’ve botched it. Maybe if I look at her book, I can figure out how to correct it. Glad you post your art mistakes because they always look perfect to me. 😊

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    1. Thank you, Jill! You and Jodi must have J names because you’re both so JOYFUL! I’m looking forward to your negative painting. Which of Kemp’s books do you have? Our library has one but not the other, so I think I’m gonna see if I can get it from interlibrary loan. Wonder if it might be worth picking up?

      I had a sad, disappointing watercolor day today, and your sweet compliment was right on target. I’m getting ready to go outside and sketch for letter O post tomorrow. Should I post my WC O fail? I know what you’ll say. (((((Jill)))))

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  6. Oh, I do hope you post it anyway! I think people like to see that not every painting we make is perfect! Google Lynn Whipple – she has a fun YouTube video on 100 bad paintings. So you could count it as 1 of the 100. But is it really bad? Sometimes I put those paintings asside for awhile and when I come back to it, it looks a lot better! 😊 I have Linda Kemp’s book, “W/C Painting Outside The Lines.” I like that it has lots of good color photos. But can’t say that I have used it a ton. I will have to look it over a bit more. I am a book-aholic. That and art supplies are my addictions. LOL! And I do like my wine! 😊

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  7. Love your attitude. We are on a progression of learning about ourselves as well as our art. It is so wonderful to explore. The escape into our art is beautiful – nothing is ever wrong – only steps on the path – and we never get to the end.

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