Saturday, April 7, 2012

Negative Space

Negative spaces intrigue me. If the object I am attempting to draw – say, an apple – is the positive space, then everything around the apple is the negative space. In Betty Edwards’ Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, an exercise prompts readers to arrange a simple still life (in this case, a banana and two pairs of scissors), and then draw only the negative spaces around it.
2008, cotton rope
For years I have been exploring the relationship between positive and negative space in three dimensions. This detail, right, from one of my rope sculptures is an example.

Now that I’ve begun working in two dimensions, I’m still fascinated by the tension that develops between positive and negative shapes. Sometimes I find it easier to draw a shape if I focus on the negative space around it instead of the positive shape itself. For example, I was trying, unsuccessfully, to capture the shape of this man’s hairless pate (left). But when I focused on the space around his head (right) instead, the shape was easier to see. I find this to be true of profiles also. 
3/29/12, Akashiya Thin Line

1/12/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen

My hand, too, often presents interesting negative shapes to draw. If I get the shape of the negative space right, then voila – the shape of the fingers pressing around it have a better chance of looking right, too.
3/26/12, Akashiya Thin Line

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