Birch Tree Against Blue Background - Negative Space and Contrast | Denise Comeau | Skillshare

Birch Tree Against Blue Background - Negative Space and Contrast

Denise Comeau, Painter . Printmaker

Birch Tree Against Blue Background - Negative Space and Contrast

Denise Comeau, Painter . Printmaker

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6 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. First wash

    • 3. Pebeo

    • 4. painting dark background

    • 5. Removing masking gum

    • 6. Finishing the exercise

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About This Class

You can easily follow along with me one step at a time. Here we are looking to create stark contrasts. Going from light foreground tree to dark background.  We will be doing negative painting to add interest and depth.

I’ve included some images of birch trees in the files section in case you need them.

Meet Your Teacher

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Denise Comeau

Painter . Printmaker


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1. Intro: I'm Denise, and I hope you decide to join me for this exercise will be using masking fluid or drawing gum will be going for contrast light against really dark background going from this midway . Look, something like this. And in the end, we will get something like this. We'll finish by doing negative painting with the background in order to get those stark contrast that we are looking for in this exercise. I hope you decide to join me in the sexual size. And once you're done, please post your projects. You can even paint along with me as I do. Enjoy. 2. First wash: for this demo I'll be using in arch ist nine by 12 inch hot pressed watercolor pad. I start by wedding, my paper and my paints. I'll start this wash with a two inch square brush just to put down a very loose first wash . This will basically be the background coloring for the birch trees, and at this time you really can't go wrong. Just be careful not to go too dark. You can always do that later. I'm using all theremin, ultra marine blue in a tad of burnt sienna, mixing them both on the paper in the palate since since this is on a pad, Aiken tip it to move the colors around. I finish by wiping the sides and dabbing a bit of water to create texture with the tissue, and I let that dry completely before going on to the next step. 3. Pebeo: this next step, I'll be applying the drawing gum or masking fluid still on the arches. Hot press paper. I'll be using PBL drying gum. This is my preferred one. I've tried a few over the years and always come back to this one, the main reason being that I don't ruin my brushes with it. I'll be using two brushes, a number six and number one rigger brush. A rigger brush has much longer hair than any other type of brush and is used for painting long straight lines. It is made so that it will hold more water so that you can do fine lines and not run out of paint. As you can see, I don't draw out my tree beforehand. I simply draw as I go with the masking fluid feeling my way through. I've spent this up for you a bit. I've started with my number six rigor. Keep in mind that as long as you keep your brushes very wet and clean them out often in your water as you work, you won't ruin them. Although it could be a good idea to have brushes that are used specifically for this reason . For instance, I wouldn't use a sable brush with masking fluid if I had one. Up to now, I've used in number six, but I'm at the point where I'll switch over to a number one to get finer lines and details for the tips of the branches here. I'm using my number one, and as you can see, the brush is made so I could do those long fine lines. Don't stress go with the flu paint with your whole arm, and eventually it will become natural. Remember to rinse out your brushed often look atyou. Tree its shape, its form. Fix whatever bothers you about it? Look at it as a whole. Take a step back. There's absolutely no need to hurry at this point. - I'll stop here and let it dry. 4. painting dark background: now is the time to apply to dark blue background. This time I don't let my paper at all. I go straight at it. The reason for this being that I want this to be fairly dark, and adding water to the paper at this time will only result in lighter colors. Also, keep in mind that watercolors dry 20% lighter here. I wanted to be dark because I want that tree to really pop out. For this, I'll be using ultra marine blue, burnt sienna, cobalt blue and the beautiful, dark, rich Prussian blue that I like and use a lot. I could also add that you can't go wrong here. Just use dark colors with not too much water in order to get the effect that we are looking for. You can keep working at it as long as your paper is shiny and wet. But remember that once your paper goes Matt, you must stop working and also every now and then wipe the sides. So what's not to get any off those nasty run backs? Because my paper is still very wet. I can add a little bit of darker color. A little bit of detail that would help in the giving it depth. Once it dries, I wipe with the tissue just to remove the excess water that's pooling. I think this is looking pretty good. This is a good place to stop. Take a break, let it work its magic. Maybe we wouldn't have a cup of tea at this time. 5. Removing masking gum: Removing the masking fluid or drawing gum at best can be very tedious. But it's worth the time and effort to get the effect. I prefer using my fingers sometimes, although I'll use an eraser. You can also buy crepe rubber thingies to do this job, but I find that they get dirty in the long run and end up staining my work. Bottom line. Although it's hard on them, I think fingers do the best job. 6. Finishing the exercise: In this next five minute video, I will finish the exercise. I spit it up a bit, but you can slow it down. If you so wish, we'll start with this and go on to this where, Actually we could stop. But since it's an exercise, I will push it even further. I'd really like to talk to you about negative painting, why it's so important in a different way of thinking, and this exercise gives us the perfect opportunity to do so. This is the end product. It's probably a bit overworked or more so that I would like, but that is the beauty of an exercise. It allows you to play and discover things you might not have if you had stopped earlier. So that said, here we go. I start with like colors and that darker working on dry paper, I'm still using my rigger brush and paint with the side as much as the tip. The marks I make with my brush are round to give the roundness of the truth. I go from very light, very dark, concentrated colors, working on my values. Here I've added a bit of bird Seanna. It warms it up I add a bit of yellow walker. Your locker is a tattle pate, almost like a wash, so you can add it onto dark colors to add a bit of warmth. Also being yellow. It brings it to the front, so really, we could stop here. But why don't we push it a bit more and see what happens? I'll try and add some white wash. I like it because I find it gives it sparkle. I added onto the really dark browns. Have it pop out. I've also decided to be brave and dark in the background, making that tree pop out even more. I'm using the same colors that I did before Prussian Blue Burnt Sienna Ultra Marine notice here that I leave holes in the background. This would be called negative painting. You can think of negative painting as a means to designing better compositions. You're painting around the object rather than painting the object itself. You will see here that while I work between the branches, it gives me the opportunity to lay dark blue, leaving a strip of light blue, a new negative painted branch, this giving more detail and depth. This is something that I absolutely love to do working at it as I do. I really hope you give this exercise of dry and share it with us. I would absolutely love to see your work. Thanks for watching.