Stimulating Solstice Still-Life #Paintings

Still Life Negative Space Tall Vase Close Scan

Both of these paintings are negative space, floral, sill-life paintings. So, you start out with a blank canvas, create an abstract background, and then fill in the negative spaces, “around” the objects of the painting. You literally create the focus of the painting by filling in space. In this case I chose to use acrylic gold as the first background coat, then watercolors for the next part of the background, mixed with iridescent watercolors. As I built the foreground, I used acrylics to shape the flowers and vase, etc, and then further defined them with several layers of acrylic.

Still Life Negative Space Round Vase

Filling in negative space tends to make a painting more spontaneous and the shapes you make can be be unusual.  I like this about the creative process of negative space painting. Instead of sketching out what you will paint on the canvas or preliminary test paintings, you look for the parts of the background that remind you of the object you wish to paint that will lend themselves to the final arrangement. So the background “peeks through” the shapes you create.

Still Life Negative Space Tall Vase

Because I’m not wed to convention I also allowed different flowers to spring forth from the same stems, where in nature this would not happen. I also blended types of flowers and plants instead of pulling directly from nature. In the end I think this makes for a more interesting journey for the viewer. The tall vase painting feels done to me the round vase painting feels like I may go back to it to add some details. I’ll try to remember to update the post when I have them hanging for show. I hope you enjoy this technique and the style I’ve adapted around it. I think I’ll work in it for the summer.

Author: Kyle

Kyle Leach is an Artist, Poet, Blogger, Gardener, Museum Curator, & Community Activist.

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