Monday, February 11, 2008

Accentuate the 'Positive'!

Before time at the drawing board begins for today, I wanted to post what work took place over the weekend. With other things going on, not an awful lot of studio time was had, but enough to have defined a couple of the major subjects of the work and to play a bit with the 'positive and negative spaces' in the work.

So, a bit of discussion today of positive and negative spacial relationships in a work of art. In its simplest of definitions, the postive spaces in a work of art are usually referred to as the subject or subjects with the negative spaces being the background or other less consequential surrounding areas of the work.

When working out a compositional idea, the postive and negative should be taken into consideration so as to finish up with a pleasing, well balanced work that will be interesting, move the viewers eye around the work, and use the space defined by the height and width of the image plain to its best.

In this particular work, I am trying to define some interesting abstract forms, three dimensional shapes and elements of the composition, to lay against a soft, almost flat, even background. The various plains of dock surfaces pretty much define the 'positive' aspects of this work, including the triangular shapes of the two boats and the real central focus of the work, the little kitty resting in the shadow. The dark reflection to the left also links to the primary positive forms of the dock to further define a rich, stong positive space in relation to what will become a pretty soft, even tonal value of the almost still water, as the work progresses.

Shifting further, the angle of all the subject elements off of a true 90 degree format to the block of the image itself, I hope, will further intensify the interest level of the completed work. Of course, that remains to be seen, but at least the intention is there!

And, one more note . . . the placement of the kitty, at the intersection of where all the angled lines seem to cross the perpendicular lines of the dock surfaces, was a given; there really could not be any other spot for that primary subject to 'sit'!


Diane Wright said...


I have been following your work now for many months and check your blog every week.

The explanation of your compositional strategy is wonderful.

I recently posted your site as an excellent reference for dramatic perspective compositions.(

Your newest drawing here is another great example!

Diane Wright

Terry Miller said...

Hey Diane,
Thanks for the comments and very 'positive' remarks! :)

I just took a look at your site and blog page and am quite taken with your work as well. Always especially nice to hear from another graphite artist.