Painting Negative Space: Part II

by Lisa Larrabee

16" x 20"
Richeson 75 International
Landscape finalist 

This tree is in my backyard, and I take a lot of satisfaction in watching the light and colors change as sun sets through it at the end of the day. Although the composition is the same as Fiery Pine, I had no intention of painting the same piece twice.  I want to include this process to show a different technique for approaching a painting through the negative spaces.

Instead of beginning on a warm background, I drew a somewhat detailed picture on a white canvas.  After cutting my paint with a slow drying oil medium, I thinly covered the whole surface.

I began to block in some darks, then decided against it.  The negative spaces (light areas) were lifted off using a combination of paper towels and clean brushes for details.  This was actually quick and a lot of fun.

Completing this tree was far less fun.  To be honest, it was a struggle and it spent lengthy periods of time "drying" in an open closet.  I had begun experimenting with glazes and had to learn to stop when layers got sticky.  If you look, you can also see branches that come forward by painting the negative space showing the green boughs behind them.  In the end, the layering built up to create some very delicate color transitions that I am happy with.

~ Lisa