Which is Leaf and Which is Space?

January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Here is where I eat crow!!!! In years past I would give my 2D students an assignment where they create as much form in the positive space as the negative. This effect is enhanced by using black and white. Most of us can relate to this by remembering the face vase picture. A vase in the center is framed by faces on either side. Sometimes when we look at it we see the vase as form and the faces as space. Other times we see the faces and the vase becomes spatial. Finally I had to complete such a picture for The Little Book of Drawing and I can tell you it was darn hard!!! It is much easier to instruct someone how to do something than to do it yourself; thus the eating of crow!!!! In this composition, which is an extension of using the leaf form in more complex pieces, we see as much form in the black forms as the white. Other terms for form and space or positive and negative are figure and ground. Which are the leaves and which define the space? It is a tricky thing to accomplish as you need to create absolute equality between positive and negative aspects.

Watercolor Washes for the Pileated Woodpecker

April 13, 2014 § 2 Comments

This is the next stage as I finally get to laying in the watercolor washes for the pileated woodpecker.  It was seen in my daughter and son in law’s yard feeding on insects from a dead tree stump.  I will add colored pencil IMG_4201as the final step to give greater depth, nuances, and hue to the contour with washes.  I’m hoping that this combination will allow my drawing to become more free.  I see it is still a work in process!! 

Using the Space Around the Subject

September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment


Here the forms are generally dark in value and the space around them are light, providing a stark contrast. There is also a give and take between the light palm leaves and the dark; creating a sense of interplay and a link with the frontal shapes and the ground. Think of the subjects as figures and the space as ground. Take the time to examine how you can activate portions of the composition usually not thought about by allowing the plants to break out of the borders, create dynamic movement, and instill interesting connections within those areas.  Allow a real give and take between the positive figures and the negative space.

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