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Negative shapes

I do go on about these, I know! Here's a Sargent landscape that illustrates this idea nicely. I love the way the shapes of the cloud, the house and the blossom all join into one light coloured shape against darker trees and sky.



I tried a small painting today with this idea in mind, but without the sharp, sunny contrasts.



I began with big blocks that would separate the foreground and background and then attempted to give the impression of distance by diminishing the contrast on the roof. As my canvas is against hardboard I can take a rag to anything I want to change and the paint comes off nicely.


I soon became engrossed in the puzzle of possible interlocking shapes and visual textures to make the composition more interesting. With a small exercise like this I can try out different contrasts of hue and texture, as well as value, without worrying that it may end up in the canvas recycling pile.



I'm looking forward to seeing you again, or for the first time, next Wednesday 17th of April to explore visually satisfying ways into painting a landscape.

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