Negative Watercolour Painting Wall Decor

9 Materials
4 Hours

Leaves wall decor made with negative painting technique

Masking the paper

First, I taped the watercolour paper to a wooden board. I used a ruler to measure the distance from the edge to create an equal margin from all sides.

Add water to the paper

Then, I added clean water to the paper, using a thick brush number 8.

Creating a gradient

Using the thick brush and a lot of water, I created a gradient with colours directly from the palette.

Waiting for it to dry

Then, I waited patiently for the colours to dry. Once it was dry, I added a few more colours to places I was not happy with, as seen in the picture here, the white spot on the left.

Drawing leaves

Using a sharp 2B pencil, I added leaves on top of the gradient. I tried to not use a rubber to erase it, as it would have lift the colour too.

Adding the second layer

Then, I mixed 3 colours of greens and a bit of yellow together and added it to the watercolour paper, painting the negative space between the leaves. Leaving the leaves untouched.

I dipped my brush in colour every few of strokes to create an uneven wash and create a sense of leaves texture.

Adding the third layer

Once I covered the entire paper, I draw more leaves and painted the negative space behind them, creating the illusion of depth.

I tried to work with the same palette and add colours as I go, so the basis will stay the same. To every layer I added brown and dark green colours.

Forth layer

I repeated the same steps and added leaves by drawing it with pencil and covering the background with a darker colour.

Fifth layer

Once the watercolour paper had a lot of colour on it, it started to bend. I had to add a second layer of masking tape to the sides.

Sixth layer

still repeating the same technique, adding brown and light blue to the mix of colours to make it seems darker and mysterious.

This is the colour I used at the time I have applied the seventh and last layer. For this layer, I added dark blue, brown and a bit of black.

Final layer

almost ready... This layer was had to control as I wanted it to be more even and create a good depth. I used a black Ecoline pen-brush to add more depth to places that were not dark enough compared to the leaves around.

Removing the masking tape

Once it was dry, I removed the masking tape. This is, by far, my fav step. The result is always unexpected, I can never imagine how exactly it would look like. Sometimes I am too eager to remove it and see if I had manage to contain my painting inside with no errors...

Masking tape removed!

Adding details

With a think 00 brush and ecoline brushes I added details to the leaves and added shadows where the leaves were not "stacked" properly.

The finished product

I left it under a pile of book to correct the bends of the paper before framing it and placing it on the wall.

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Shelly Graham
    on Jun 23, 2020

    Beautiful job, have you ever tried masking to keep paint from bleeding into an area? It's somewhat like rubber cement, but not caustic or damaging to the paper. Regardless, it's absolutely a stunning professionally finished artwork!

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