Thursday, September 26, 2013

Challenge 85 September 2013

Karol Kusmaul, hostess
Theme: Negative Space
Due Date: October 5, 2013

When I was in college, our drawing instructor stacked up an odd assortment of stools, old chairs, manikins, and wadded up newsprint.  We had several assignments using this mountain of stuff as our subject matter.  One day, our assignment was to draw the air around the objects, NOT the objects themselves.  In other words, we were to focus on the shape of the spaces between the objects. 

This is a technique recommended by Betty Edwards in her well known Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain books.  Betty tells about Bugs Bunny running through a door and leaving a rabbit shaped hole in the door.  If you were to draw the shape of the door (or the negative space), you will have drawn the shape of the rabbit. It is amazing how well this technique can improve the way you see and draw.

Try it with fabrics!  You can use real objects or photographs you have taken.  You can use any subject matter that has interesting shapes or openings.  

Here is one of my son sitting at a counter.  It is on my list of projects to finish one day!!!

Having taught this technique in my high school art classes, I was always impressed with the resulting drawings.  Give it a shot!!!  You might try a quick fabric study of a chair that has interesting open spaces.  Don’t cut out a chair shape, instead, cut out the shapes of the air around the chair.
Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition.

Here are some examples:

This is an image of a drummer.  As in the one with my son on a stool, I started with some  wild fabrics as a background, then added shapes for the negative spaces.  The wild fabrics became my positive shapes.  You may want to simplify and use solids or more tame fabrics.


Here are two paintings by Hessam Abrishami where negative space is emphasized.  It really is as important as the positive figures!!

Here is the same idea in a small watercolor study.  If you paint the negative shapes, then the positive ones appear.

Finally, a student piece that plays with positive and negative shapes, as well as implied shapes, where your eye completes the tank top on the right, even if it is not delineated. 

And one last word: have fun with this!

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