« Every Family Needs a Baby | Main | Figure Drawing at the Society of Illustrators »

Learning to "Paint Outside the Lines"

Linda Kemp's book, Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines, was mentioned on the Everyday Matters message board, and on View From the Oak Blog.  When I have gift cards, I buy this type of art technique book for my library and this year it is one of my goals to actually read and sometimes do exercises or demos from some of these books.  This was my book for August.

In order to really understand the technique of painting just the negative space, I had to try the first two exercises in this book.

Exercise 1:  Paint many different size circles in groups and paint only the negative space.  This painting has 5 layers.  I was quite messy, and didn't keep nice smooth edges, but I accomplished my goal.  I did understand the concept after doing this exercise.

I just found Linda doing this exercise on a You Tube Video.


Exercise 2:  Same technique, but with a stem with 2 leaves, and a watercolor underpainting.  Again, I was quite messy with the outlines, but now understood working wet-in-wet and creating interesting color washes.

Although I did this exercise from her book, I just found a demo of it on her website.


Extending the Lesson Using My Original Image:  Friends brought a lovely bouquet of flowers Saturday evening and I decided to use the flower and leaf shape from one of the flowers to create my own negative painting.


Then I created Two Magnetic Bookmarks using the same flower and leaf shapes.  The technique for making these was posted previously.  But now I use individual magnets sold at Staples as adhesive business card magnets - and I cut them in half vertically. 



These are just lovely, so soft and pretty. I especially like the third image from the top.

I love this effect. I must go find my book and try some of them myself.

You have shared some wonderful exercises and introduced me to several books I would like to read. Thank you. You are creating a wonderful blog, and your art is progressing nicely as well.

I love, love, LOVE this post!

I have 'instructional' books that I always mean to 'use' rather than happily browse through but never do! This technique, especially with watercolours is very interesting. I love the colours you have used. The flowers are beautiful.
Many thanks for the links too - I will definitely be checking them out!

Very nice! I'm glad you posted this....I tried doing some exercises from this book a long time ago but didn't work my way through it. I think I'll go back and try again! You've inspired me!

Nice, Shirley. I followed all the links - very informative and easy to follow and understand.

Gorgeous work with negative space....I love shapes and colors and this post has got both so YAY!

Definitely have to look for that book! These are terrific!

You did it again! Not only is your work a delight, but the links kept me going for a while. So much inspiring talent. Also, your grandchild really is adorable.

This is a great post! I love what you've done with the negative space, and your colors are lovely! nancy

Shirley! I feel honored! Thank you! And all that without a heat gun! Now that is old school. You done good! I have been reading through and I will say it again. We have now known one another for 11 months! You are growing by leaps and bounds. Good work.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)