Negative Space–Leaving white spaces in my art

Delicious and Terrifying

Last week I was going to write about empty spaces in art, or as artists like to call it– negative space–the places in the painting between the things you meant to paint.

So very VERY important.

I put this off until this week because of the passing of my sweet kitty Mo.

There has been an aching space where he used to be.

For me, the most important brush strokes are the ones I don’t lay down on the paper or canvas.

I instinctively knew or learned the  value of empty space in art way before I discovered it in life.  I have finally started learning to allow some spaces to be empty–to let the hollowed out place be what it is and not try to fill it up with something else too quickly.

In painting with watercolor it’s especially essential that you plan your white spaces before you even start your painting– that’s  because these are the most beautiful when left untouched by paint, the white paper glowing through.

In a class I took recently (Re:Clutter) taught by the inimitable Kristen Finch, we learned about the power of decluttering–clearing space in our lives–literally–such as cleaning out closets, getting rid of things we don’t use or value anymore that drain our energy, clearing off work spaces to allow the brain to rest from the last project so that it can recharge itself for the next burst of creativity.

I have been on clearing binge this last year and 1/2 and have been allowing empty spaces to develop around me.

And this summer I have been painting paintings in my mind.  The beautiful paintings have hovered there,

suspended over me . . .

in a cloud of virtuality.

Other activities took over the summer–life and all that . . .

During this time of not painting I worked myself up into a bit of a tizzy– over all the blank canvases I had bought, and all the things I wanted to paint on them, and taking my art to a different place, and starting new adventures in painting with new media, and bringing all the virtual pictures I have in my brain down onto an actual canvas . . . and I developed a fairly good case of blank canvas phobia!


You will be glad to know

that last weekend, 

the deliciousness of the blank canvases stored in the garage and juicy paints summoning from their box (which I had opened the week before to enhance summoning) overcame the terror of diving into the abyss of

“what if I can’t do it anymore?!!!?”

I’ll share more next week about how I got started as well as the beginnings of a piece or two. 🙂  ❤

Author: Margaret Huntley Harrison

I’m a painter using my gifts to transform the seemingly ordinary into the beautiful and extraordinary. What I love more than anything is tracking down, creating, and spreading the beauty in our amazing world! And I LOVE helping you find and spread your beauty into your home, your family and your world. Art for sale: Margaret Huntley Harrison

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