I wanted to try another negative space, floral, sill-life painting. I wanted to go bigger this time. The last two were much smaller and this painting is on a 24x 36 canvas. It took much longer than the other two, mainly because I was afraid of covering too much of the background at once and blocking off future options for the painting.
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, leaving the background showing through as the “center” of objects. 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, table, and vase, and then further defined them with several layers of acrylic and liquid acrylic.
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, but because this space was so much larger than the other two it took several months to finish this piece. 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, in this case flowers in an arrangement that will lend themselves to the final composition. So the background “peeks through” the shapes you create as you can see better in this close-up of the upper portion of the painting.
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, and let them take shapes that would not normally happen. In the end I think this makes for a more interesting journey for the viewer. It’s more of an expression of flowers than a detailed account of a collection of flowers. I may go back and do a little more and I do need to seal this piece with varnish, so in the end it will have a little more shine to it than it does now. This is now hanging in our TV room and I have to say it is one of my favorite paintings to date. It just seems to sing to my soul.