Watercolor Demonstration Step-by Step #1


What is negative shape painting? Put simply, using this technique, the traditional watercolor painter denies his or herself the use of white paint, and thus cannot directly paint a light or white subject. To paint that subject, he must paint around it , or in other words, paint the negative shapes behind the subject. This seems arduous, but, with time, is no more difficult than directly painting a subject. There are distinct advantages to negative shape painting. First, white paint deadens chroma when added to any color. Pure watercolor does not include the use of this paint and is thus capable of producing the most chromatic and beautiful light value passages. Second, when an artist is painting negative shapes he is in right-brain mode, and thus benefiting from his or her best hand-eye coordination. Finally, when dealing with negative shapes from the very beginning, the artist must make global design decisions at the best possible time; from the start. The following demonstration illustrates negative shape painting as a dominant technique in all steps.