When analysing the drawing of sunflowers after Van Gogh I can see quite clearly how important the element of shape is to this piece of work. The negative shape, or the shape around the flowers in this composition is just as important as the flowers or the positive shape, and it is integral in holding the composition together. The negative shape underpins the composition and helps the sense of harmony, balance, proportion, and rhythm that gives the picture its wholeness. Through the negative space, the subject becomes locked into its context.
Here we have in these two drawings the first two layers of negative shape, which establish the subject in its environment or context.
Set up a still life of flowers on a table that is put against a wall. Then set up as if to draw, with your pencil, paper and an eraser. Now take a viewfinder or what we know as a window mount and frame the composition of the flowers. We are going to copy the composition in the window mount and place it on our paper, by mapping the composition using the negative space.
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