Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Remember negative space?

Trees in fog south of Napa • © 2011 Karen Lynn Ingalls

It's good, every now and then, to review some of the basics that are critical in developing a good composition. If you have a tendency to think, when you paint, mostly in terms of the subject, and not so much of the space around the subject, revisiting the concepts of negative space will help your painting enormously.

And if this is new to you, you will be amazed at how an understanding of negative (and positive) space will change the way you see – and the way you paint.

Here are two posts from 2010 on negative space that will help.

Winter is a wonderful time to practice seeing negative space. Take a look at the shapes of trees in fog – study the shapes of oak trees or grapevines without their leaves. Notice the shapes of the trees and vines themselves – and notice the spaces around them. In a painting, you can use the negative space to shape the positive space in ways that make both work better.

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