the magic of negative space

by Jessica

I’ve always enjoyed art with that perfect amount of negative space so much. It just feels so balanced, with a lot of room for the art to breathe, and for the viewer to rest. Despite this I’ve never really used a lot of negative space in my own work – they’ve always been a bit intense all over. I’ve decided I want to learn how to use negative space, and have therefore challenged myself to use it for a while. Very specific challenge, I know. Basically I want to actually practice on the things I want to improve, rather than repeating things I’ve already “mastered”.

I also knew that this would mean I would have to introduce some new type of elements into my art, which made me turn to the ever growing resource for artists that is Unsplash. The first original picture below is actually found through a site called Pexels (which I found through this post by Outline Amy!) but basically they’re all royalty free stock photos that I’ve combined with pieces of my other work.

The piece above is – on top of the challenge of using more negative space – made using the colour palette from Color Crush Creative this fortnight. The palette is called “Garden Room”, and you can find it here. It features some shades of green as well as beige and peachy pinks. Not my usual palette, but ever so beautiful. The amazing part about setting a challenge like this for yourself is that you kind of push yourself to experiment. I’ve never created anything similar to these three before, but I really love them and still feel like they’re true to my artistic self.

This kind of goes hand in hand with what I was talking about on Instagram a few days ago, which is an idea inspired by a short interview segment with Marina Abramovic in this video. Basically she talked about some advice she got from an old professor, telling her that as soon as you become virtuoso drawing with your right hand, switch to the left. I didn’t interpret this literally, but started to analyse my own art using this mindset, and realised that even though I might not be “virtuoso” at the technique that has been dominating my work for so long, I do feel so comfortable with it that it kind of started to limit me. It’s almost as if I’ve stopped experimenting recently, and I ended up often creating for the sake of creating something for Instagram rather than to explore my creativity. Not the direction I wish to go, so I set myself an assignment that could change that.

Because I sometimes miss some kind of artistic education, not to make myself a “real artist” or anything like that, but to get assignments that continually pushes me creatively. I’ve felt like my creative process is growing stale. So I’ve started to think that maybe I’ll just create my own art school, and one that suits me. So this is my first assignment, one might say. To create using negative space. We’ll see for how long it lasts.

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1 comment

Lianne Williams May 14, 2018 - 9:06 pm

‘Creating something for the sake of Instagram’! Ouch! Yes! I can relate. I must definitely need a break from it.

Anyway. So interesting what you say about negative space. I always admire it in other people’s work but I’ve always been a ‘more is more’ sort of person. This has given me a lot to think about. I’m considering a very wide or very tall background now and really play hard with the composition.

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