I’ve forgotten how to art

I’ve left it so long that I’ve forgotten how to paint; my neglected paintbrushes stare accusingly at me and I fear my paints will putrefy.

To remedy this I searched for a simple painting exercise and Google did not disappoint.  I chose a negative painting technique to try and capture something of the beautiful autumnal leaves before they disappear.

It was a surprise to find how much I enjoyed this technique, pushing the paint around without caring about the end result…it’s purely an exercise  It is one that I’ll use in future.

A bonus was that it also gave my brain an unexpected (much needed) workout.

My talented friend Carol King did some much softer, prettier versions, which I wish I’d found before I started mine.



  • Select three transparent colours and paint a light background wash using one or all.
  • It is important to allow each layer to dry completely.
  • When dry, draw some outline shapes of leaves (or whatever).  Then, in the negative spaces only, paint another wash, preferably in a darker tone.
  • Allow to dry completely.  The idea is to suggest shapes by painting around them.
  • Into these darker negative spaces, draw in additional shapes and continue with another wash into the negative spaces.
  • Continue building up these layers until you ae satisfied with the picture.
  • Try not to overwork it by losing some edges, softening with a water spray and facing towards the edges of the paper.
  • For better definition I refined the shapes with pastels and ink.

You are very welcome.

4 thoughts on “I’ve forgotten how to art

  1. She posted!!! She posted!!!

    How very happy I was to see a new post from you. I love your autumn leaves. Thank you for the shout-out.

    Here are a few more leaf paintings: http://carolking.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/falling-leaves-watercolor-and-a-story-from-my-brother-who-does-not-read-my-blog/

    Your leaves are beautiful and soft. I like that you finished them with pastels and ink for more definition. I love the little hints of blue here and there which offsets all the autumn colors of red, orange, yellow and gold. I hope we see another blog post soon. (But no pressure!!)


  2. Thank you for your encouraging words Carol – and for the links. You are indeed the master of negative shapes and have inspired me to give it another go, but more loosely. Painting around the edges of the actual leaf makes great sense! *stands up to salute you*


  3. Oh, June! Both are full of color and interesting shapes! What a neat exercise in negative space. I also like it that you chose to splatter and use ink and pastel. …and thank you for sharing because lends to ideas for my own creations!


  4. Weirdly, not long after putting this post up, your e-mail landed, suggesting I “just do it” and have fun with my art to help me get back into painting – spookie! I’m definitely going to have another shot at it. Greatly appreciate your never-ending support.


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