Thursday, October 6, 2011

Turning Negatives into Possitives

If you read this blog often you  know that I draw a lot of metaphors for life and art from my love of nature.  I have a deep connection to nature and need to spend time outdoors to keep myself balanced.  I am continually amazed at what God (or whatever you call or believe it to be)  reveals to me through creation. Creating is a very spiritual thing for me.  And my personal experience tells me that most "creatives" are pretty spiritual people in some form. 

This week I was doing a demo for a class on negative painting.  Using an old lesson, I wanted a new spin because I get bored doing the same thing over and over again.  On my walk the brown leaves are starting to crunch beneath my feet, but the colors are just starting to show.  Last years color was disappointing, so I am hopeful for this year. With so much rain the colors should be spectacular this year and I am watching daily as things turn a bit more each day.  If past years are an indication there will be one or two brilliant weeks of incredible color.    Inspired by a few fallen leaves with some color that I picked up to do a journal page with, the idea for my demo came. 

The painting above uses both negative painting (painting the space around the subject) and positive painting techniques (actually painting the object).   The simple principle is that the negative space is what shows the positive forms in my painting.  But it's hard to see and do because we are not used to seeing things that way or doing it!  I am reminded that in my art as in life the "negative" when viewed objectively is not necessarily "bad".  It is in fact a necessary part of the whole of the painting, and our lives.  We need to get past the idea that the "good" things or those things that give pleasure are the only valuable things.  While none of us are going in search of pain and adversity, the truth is that without the negative the positive would be that much less defined or appreciated. In nature, all these dreary rainy day's (which most of us view negatively)  have made for one of the 10 wettest years in recorded history in Ohio. But the "positive" to that negative is that it should be one of the most brilliant shows of fall color in many years as well!

I just had to share with you how multi layered the creative process is for me.  Look for the lessons you can learn from the things you see as negative in your life.  And try a negative painting to cement the idea that those very spaces define the positive ones!  Changing how we see in art as well as life is part of the way we grow. 

So what started as a search for a new way to teach a basic principle turned out to be a new take on an old lesson for me.  As I navigate some negative space in my life I'm finding it makes the positive aspects more visible.   Shifting to view the "negative" as not "bad" or unnecessary changes how I handle it.  And yes, it's easier said than done!

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