Monday, November 8, 2010

Let's Hear It for Negativity!

Negative space, that space surrounding each and every object in a painting can be wonderful. Velasquez turned it into painted air so real it's almost breathable. Vermeer infused it with the softest of sunlight. Van Gogh used brushstrokes to transform it into motion and energy.
Surround a figure with negative space like Hopper and the mood will turn solitary. Eliminate negative space by bringing the figure up close and personal, as Klimt often did, and there will be instant intimacy between viewer and subject.
In my painting, the chair and the parasol leave the model with almost no negative space to call her own. But she doesn't seem to miss her bit of breathing room; in fact, she's rather like a seatmate on a bus, very busy ignoring us all.

Paper Parasol  is a 20x20 oil. The girl was done in open studio; the parasol was finished later in my studio.

14 comments:

  1. Wow Shirley, this is a fabulous piece, bravo!

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  2. Shirley, Thank you for your inspiring comment. It goes straight to the heart of what I'm trying to do with my painting and confirms that I am indeed communicating ideas that are important to me. And thank you for leading me to your art and insightful thoughts on art. Your paintings are boldly designed and subtly colored. A great combination. I love what you said about negative space as it was explored by various artists. You seem to be well versed in art history. I'll be following your paintings and fascinating text. Marie

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  3. Marie and Dana, thank you. It's wonderful to receive compliments from figurative artists whom I admire.

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  4. Shirley, This is quite different and a different color palette. I really love it. Even though she is disengaged with the viewer, we can't help but look at her, and it is easy, because she doesn't know. Your comments always make me think! Thanks

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  5. It's the same limited palette I always use but I did go earthy this time.
    Thanks, Christine for the kind words.

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  6. very lovely Shirley. You make figures look easy.. and I know they're not. to me, they're intimidating!! great work and commentary!

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  7. Thanks, Tiffany. I love painting people most of all. So I really appreciate your comments.

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  8. Thanks, Andrew. I like yours very much, too.

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  9. Very-very nice. I like the use of negative space and the calm palette.

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  10. Very fine, Shirley. A simple, powerful statement.

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  11. Bill, Ruth and Don, compliments from such wonderful painters mean so much to me. Thank you.

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  12. Love this painting. It has loads of atmosphere and a very spanish feel to it.

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