Using Negative Space to Create Mixed Media Flowers | Cherie Burbach | Skillshare

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Using Negative Space to Create Mixed Media Flowers

teacher avatar Cherie Burbach, Artist, Writer, Poet

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Using Negative Space Intro


    • 2.

      Using Negative Space Supplies


    • 3.

      Starting the Picture


    • 4.

      Creating the Negative Space


    • 5.

      Sketching the Edges


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Using Negative Space Conclusion


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About This Class

In this class, mixed media artist Cherie Burbach will show you how to create a mixed media flower painting using collage and negative space. She uses fluid acrylics, a stabilo pencil, gel medium, and collage papers to create a fun yet satisfying art project that anyone of any skill level can do. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Cherie Burbach

Artist, Writer, Poet


Cherie Burbach spent a decade as a freelance writer, penning articles for places like NYT, NBC, Family Circle, Christianity Today, and more. While she still writes, she now works full time as an artist. Art and writing have always been a part of her life, ever since she was a little girl. Creativity was a safe place for her and a way to work through a turbulent childhood.

A desire to offer hope and encouragement is the intention behind her art. She is self-taught, painting almost every day. She also writes poetry and other works, and feels words and images are closely tied in telling a story of faith and confidence about the future. She's published many books, including poetry, kid's book, and a novel.

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1. Using Negative Space Intro: I'm artist and writer Siri Burbach, and I want to introduce my latest skill share class, which is about using negative space to create a mixed media flower painting. This is a fun technique that anybody can do, so no artistic skills are needed. Using simple supplies will be using collage to help define Ah flowers in an abstract mixed media way like this. And it's a really fun technique, and I hope that you'll join me for using negative space to create mixed media flowers. 2. Using Negative Space Supplies: Let's talk supplies. Ah, we are using very simple supplies, but there are a few things you want to gather. I'm using a canvas to start, but really you can use any surface. You could use cardboard, a block of wood. You could use canvas board, whatever you have. And it doesn't even matter if you've already painted on that canvas and you want to reuse it. In fact, I am doing that. I'm taking a canvas that I started working on and I didn't like, and I'm using it as the base because what we're doing is collage ing over the top. And so the other thing that you'll need is a collection of papers to collage with will be tearing them very small, and you'll just want whatever you have. You don't need to get too fancy with this, because whatever you have will provide an interesting background. I personally I'm using scrap of papers, music sheets, book pages. I've got some artist tissue, and I'll show you how those all come together since we're doing collage. What I'm using is a gel medium to adhere the paper down on the canvass. The technique is that you put some gel medium on the canvas than put some gel medium on the thicker papers, and then you adhere the papers and put gel. Meet him over the top to protect it. Uh, we're able to then build layers on top of that, so the brand that I'm using is golden. It is regular gel gloss and a phone brush. Andi. It's not a bad idea to use gloves for this because it is glue and it will stick for the paint. I'm using fluid acrylics. This is Titan buff, which is kind of like an off white fluid acrylic. Now this acrylic is thin down and very pigmented, so it's different than if you use an acrylic that you water down yourself. However, if you don't have this, you could certainly water down your own regular body acrylic and use that I'm using a couple different brush sizes. One is a very small brush. It's about that tip, because I'm using that to help outline everything and this size, which will help spread the fluid acrylic. Finally, I'll be using a stable a pencil. That's this little guy right here. This is a really versatile pencil that rights over anything. Eso It provides a nice kind of rough texture. You could smooth it with your finger, and it also works with water, and that's how we're gonna use it to help define the flowers. Now, if you don't have a Sabeel a pencil, you can go ahead and try this project with a regular pencil with a graphite pencil with some acrylic paint. You'll see in the project how I use this, and then if you have something else, you can also substitute it. I want to show you how this works, so in case you want to try it yourself because it doesn't provide, are really interesting technique, especially as we're doing this type of negative space painting. 3. Starting the Picture: I have a 12 by 12 inch canvas And you, as you can see, this canvas has undermined a previous project. I was working on something else with it, and I decided to wipe it off and start over. And since I'm starting with collage on this particular picture, I decided that this campus is perfect to use for that because we're gonna cover it up and you're not gonna see it anyway. Collage is a good way to kind of reuse canvases. If you work on backgrounds a lot and you're, you know, playing and experimenting on, then you want to start a new canvas with, um, you know, another picture collage is a good way to kind of just start over. So it kind of works as just a clean coat of paint. Almost so to do this, I have a collection of papers again. I pulled them at random. Some of these have used in other projects, you know, they're all just kind of different papers, different thicknesses, they're all different. And, um, I have my regular job loss and a foam brush for this first layer. I want to cover this whole thing with gel gloss and cover this whole thing with plush. I'm looking Teoh. Add pieces of collage that are in fairly small sizes because we're gonna use the negative space left behind. And we're gonna use closure as a way to build our flowers. So let's say first you put the gel medium on your canvas, of course, like we always do. And I'm still just ripping them into pieces. So I'm gonna use a variety of different sizes like that's one size stuck. That's one size I will use. So I'm gonna put some gel medium on the back of it and then put some gel medium over the front. Yeah, let's see what else you got here. I'll just keep going right next to it. And and like, that's a nice Now, a lot of times when we do a collage, we don't want to fill up the whole thing, cause we're gonna add paints and all that for this particular canvas. We do want to fill the whole thing up. So I want you to just start grabbing, um, little pieces of collage pay for music pages, whatever it iss, and just follow my lead and fill up your entire canvas. Don't worry about matching papers. Some worry about. You know, if things go together, if the pattern so together, don't worry about any of that. Just kind of play and have fun and grab the pieces that you're drawn to for whatever reason . And work it like a puzzle. You know, you're trying to just fill up the entire space. So starting somewhere in the middle and work out and just keep adding pieces of paper that are, um you know, about that kind of size in relation to a canvas like this. So about a inch or so And just make sure that when you collage, you hit the edge of the next paper so that all of it will be filled with paper and I'm gonna do mine, and I'll let you work on yours and will come back together and see what we have 4. Creating the Negative Space: This whole collage earlier is dry. And as you can see, I use a variety of different papers. I use some book pages, some music sheets. I use different kinds of scrap of paper. I use some just random paper that I had. Um and I used some artist tissue. And if you notice, um, you know the artist tissue does bleed a bit, you can see it rate, you know, when there and here. That pink is from the moisture from the Joe medium pulling the color off the artist tissue , which I really, really like. It's one reason I like using artist tissue and why that type of tissue works differently than the other types that you might find, You know, that you might have in your house to wrap a package or something like that. This particular tissue works a little bit differently than that. I also used a couple things like You can see the heart. Ah, here and here. And these hearts were cut out of another project. And so I think they had kind of an interesting element on. And here's a leaf. Um, there's a little leaf, huh? They had an interesting element on this collage board. So this is our first layer, and what we're gonna do is use the negative space to create a flower painting. Now, up until now we haven't done something What I consider traditional, like flowers in a vase. You know that I would consider a traditional flower painting, but we're going to use that concept on this painting, and we're gonna create the flowers in a vase using the negative negative space. What I mean by that is we, You know, since we have all of this great color and texture this in and of itself to me when I'm looking at it is a work of art. You know, I am somebody that really likes collage work, and I think it looks really cool. However, I think we can make this collage into, um, a flower painting with keeping the collage and just kind of blackening out the edges. When I say blackening out, I mean kind of blocking it out. Eso that. All you see then is the clouds work. And you can do that with a darker color, like a black or purple or blue. I'm gonna choose to do that, blacking out with a lighter color with Titan buff fluid acrylic. So I have that on my palette and the fluid acrylic I like because it will go over this canvas, but yet it will keep all of these other layers intact. Now, you could also do a negative space type of painting where you cover everything and you won't see that. But I'm gonna keep it so that we can still kind of see that What I want to do next is to paint with the negative space in mind, meaning that I am gonna paint around all the flowers and the flowers. Air kind of come up going, going to come into view from what's left behind. You'll see what I mean is I get going right now. I'm gonna paint around the negatives face and create the flower images. You'll see how it comes together. 5. Sketching the Edges: Okay. This first layer of paint is mostly dry and we can move forward. The fluid acrylic is very thin, and so it dries very quickly. And you'll notice that all of the papers from the background do show through in this white layer, which is lovely and some of the colors. And so it has. It has a really nice effect. What I have now is a step below pencil. Um, this is a pencil that you can write on just about anything with paper, glass, metal, plastic eso, mixed media artists love these types of pencils because, of course, they go over any type of service, and we're always working on different types of surfaces. Um, what I'm gonna do with this pencil is kind of just draw in some details from the spaces left behind with these flowers. I've kind of sketched it out with the negative space of the Titan buff and created this space where the flowers are gonna exist. And now I just need to define them a little bit and bring them in and help unify them. Now, I could also have done it the opposite way. I could sketch this out with a stubby low pencil. And that way I know where the Titan buff is going to go because this would go around, whatever the sketches, whatever works best for you is what you should dio. What I'm gonna do is just go around each area that I left, um, open and just kind of add a little bits of a border and a little bit of some detail. Just so, um, we can begin to see the flowers emerge from this now, stubby little pencil, you can put it on dry like this. Um, you can also that don't do this right now to show you you can also wet it. So let me take a, um you take a paintbrush that has a little bit of moisture on it. I'll show you what that's like, what it and then it becomes darker and, you know, it acts almost like an ink. So it has to different effects. Um, make it just slightly wet in order to pull up the pigment dark in that it's not nice. So that's two different effects that you can happy with that. So I'm gonna start by just kind of sketching, and I might since I did the first flower where I darkened it with the water and might do that in all of them. But right now, I just wanna go over and I'm kind of doing a rough outline, so I'm going back and forth. I'm running the pencil over it. It's not a single line. This isn't the line work that we did in previous lessons. It's kind of more like a sketch, and I'm just going over everything around the edges to help bring it out and define it. 6. Finishing: So I had started showing you what happens if you add water to the stipulate pencil, and I like that effect. So I'm gonna continue grandma paper total because the balance in doing this is to keep some water on your brush. Keep it moist but not overly wet, so you want to make sure you have the right amount on there. I have a little brush like that. Let me show you the tip, so it's very small, and I would if I were you. Practice a little bit with a Sibila pencil on, you know, just a scrap piece of paper or a practice painting, just to get an idea of how it reacts to the water instantly. When you do this, you'll get a feel for how much water should be on there because it picks it up and it picks up the stubby little pencil and moves the pigments and you'll see and feel it with the brush. And you'll instantly know if the if the pigment goes all over. You know you have too much water on there. And if it doesn't react at all to the water and you know that you have, um not enough on there, so you'll get a feel for it instantly. But give it some practice before you do it on your canvas. Probably if you've never worked with it. And instantly you can see how it really brings up, Um, this to be low. I like the look of that stubby little pencil because I like the look of that kind of, um in perfect mixed media. Um, you know, it is it is it? It is by nature and in perfect looking way of painting. Now, that doesn't mean it's not perfect. It has perfection in, you know, the finished product. What I mean is the up mixed media Artists like to make things, um not look perfect. We're not looking to paint exactly from nature. We like the look of thorn book pages and things like that, and the stability pencil adds kind of that rough outlining element that really pulls everything together. So I like using them quite a bit. And I like them on something like this. It really helps. Um, the paper shine. It helps. The colors kind of be highlighted a little bit. I really like how this makes everything come up and really come together. So as I finish up these a little stems, I am enjoying the fact that this is coming together and that I get to see these little colors pop. I like the look of the artists to shoot behind it. It's really kind of a cool effect. Not bad, right? An easy way to kind of get color and texture and really create mixed media flowers in yet another way. 7. Using Negative Space Conclusion: I hope you enjoy the very freeing nature of creating these types of abstract mixed media flowers. It's really a technique that anybody can do, and it's really fun because the shape of the flowers, what you end up creating the colors, the whole thing is really up to you. You have full reign, and I hope that you'll continue to build these mixed media flowers using different paper combinations, different colors. And if you do, please share your creations in our class. Thanks for painting with me.