Painting Coreopsis with Negative Painting and Abstract Lines

This past spring I took a photo of some coreopsis growing in my garden. I decided this would be a nice subject for a painting combining negative painting techniques along with abstract lines.

Designing and Transferring the Drawing

The first thing I did was design my composition and then transfer it onto tracing paper using an ultra fine point sharpie. This would enable me to use my light-box and transfer the drawing to 300 lb. watercolor paper. I prefer 300 lb. paper when I will be doing many layers. Yes, if you use tracing paper and a sharpie, you will be able to see the drawing through even 300 lb. paper. By perfecting your composition on tracing paper before transferring to your watercolor paper, you eliminate all of the erasing and scuffing of your watercolor paper. Also, if you are like me, you may decide to paint the same subject over and over until you get what you like. This way you can just retrace it instead of having to redraw it. I hate to admit it, but my record for painting something over is five times! Here is my drawing on the tracing paper.

Next, I laid my watercolor paper over the pattern on the light box in order to determine where I wanted to place my abstract lines.  I used Pebeo Drawing Gum for these lines.

Beginning the Painting Process

After transferring my pattern to my watercolor paper lightly with pencil, I mixed three separate puddles of color: New Gamboge, Permanent Rose, and Winsor Blue (phthalo) Green shade. Next, I pre wet my entire paper and then brushed in the colors keeping in mind where I wanted the yellow flowers to be.  I didn’t mind if some of the blue or pink ran slightly into the edges of the flowers.

Here, I began defining my main flowers.

In the following photo, I am beginning to develop the other flowers.Next, I created some new shapes by painting the space around them (negative painting) and defined the petals.  I also added a little Quinacridone Burnt Orange for the centers.  It is amazing to realize this entire painting was painted with predominately three pigments and the very small addition of this last pigment added to the centers.  Then it was time to darken the background in several areas.

Completing the Painting

Next, for the exciting part: it was time to remove the frisket and reveal my abstract lines. As you can see, they are very stark.

My final step was to tame down some of the white in the abstract lines. I did this by painting a lighter value of the color I saw underneath each section of the line. I was careful not to make the lines too dark as I wanted them to show in order to add energy to the painting.

“Colorful Coreopsis”

I love the joy this painting exudes and have so much fun painting with this technique.

For more information on using abstract lines, see this previous post.

For more information on using the negative painting techniques see this post and this post.

I hope you have fun and explore these two painting techniques.  As always, the compositions in these exercises are copyrighted.  Thanks!


6 Replies to “Painting Coreopsis with Negative Painting and Abstract Lines”

  1. Beautiful ! Very nice effect. I like a lot the slow construction of negative painting. You must wait it to dry, have some time to think how to place this flower, this leaf, imagine the shapes in the undefined marks of paint. So calming. Do you feel that too? By the way, I think you got your own style, different than other negative paintings. Great !

    • HI Laurence! Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I do feel negative painting is a slow, calming, and meditative way to paint. Funny how a person’s style comes out even when they are not aware of it. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Lovely painting, Annie. You’ve taken these two techniques and made them your own. I agree with Laurence; you definitely have your own style, and it’s a beautiful one.

  3. Oh Annie, you’ve done it again. Truly an artist, you are!! Thanks for tutorial.