Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A Simple Tip for Painting Grasses

'Meadow Riot'         5x7        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $50
When it comes to painting grass I can always use a good tip. So often grass comes off stiff and unnatural in a painting. Since I love painting scenes with lots of grass and tangles of weeds I am always looking for ways to refine the way I paint them. 

 I have several ways I like to paint grass. All of them designed to prevent the grass from becoming a stiff 'fence' of grass marks. This type of grass can often become a visual barrier in a painting. The viewer is prevented from entering into the painting. 

Today I am sharing one of my favorite techniques for painting grass: Negative Painting.
What is Negative Painting? Here is a definition found on the Craftsy blog:

Negative painting is a simple technique that involves applying pigment around an subject to give it definition. You'll add paint to surround the person, place or object, making it stand out because it appears lighter (or darker) than the background.

Grass on the left is painted with linear marks. Grass on the right is done with negative painting
When painting grass you can use the negative painting technique to create natural and believable areas of grass. In the example above you can see how the technique works.

  •  On the left I have painted the grass by making linear marks. The grass looks too thick and regular. In the example on the right I painted a larger block of grass using two pastels on their side. I did not paint individual grass marks. 
  • I then used the sky color to cut into the block of green.  I used the negative painting technique of painting what is behind the grass (the sky)  which allowed the individual blades of grass to appear.
Where else can you use Negative Painting in a landscape? It is a great way to create painterly passages in your work! Tomorrow I will share some other grass techniques.



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