Monday, 12 January 2015

Always - a demonstration of hearts and negative painting, ahead of St. Valentine's Day.

It seems such a long time since I did a step-by-step demonstration.

Here though, is one for a hand painted card, made up of hearts, in time for St. Valentine's Day.
Go on, give it a go, and surprise that special someone in your life with a handmade card!

This is what the card will look like when it's finished:


Here is how to get to that finish, step by step.

Firstly, take a piece of watercolour paper, 8" x 11" and fold it in half.
I use Saunders Waterford 140lb Rough.
Then tape it to a board, with half an inch of the paper covered, like so:

Line up your palette, with three washes, one yellow, one red, one blue.
Mine were winsor yellow, cobalt blue and rose madder genuine

Then you wet the whole of the paper with plain water. Dip your brush in one wash then apply to the paper, with a random swirl, while the paper is still wet. Do the same with each wash.
Here is how my random swirls came out:

Then draw your first few hearts, with a pencil:

Using just the yellow wash, paint around the hearts and all over the background. This will give one unifying wash under all the others to follow.
Never paint over the hearts! We are painting the space around them. This is negative painting.

When the painting has dried completely, go back in with your pencil and draw a few more hearts.This time, use the yellow, blue and red wash in  line with how they appear on the under painting. Don't worry if they fizz in together as you paint. Never paint over the hearts you have drawn.

Then when completely dry, add some more hearts.
Once this level is completed, it should look like this.
This is what I call the ugly stage - but don't panic! It is simply a stage - it will get better. Persevere! 

This time, we're going to take the blue and red washes, and mix them together.
With this new lavender/purple wash, you are going to paint all around the hearts again, remembering not to paint the hearts.

Now, we could have stopped here, but it didn't feel finished to me. I wanted to go wild with hearts - so we draw in some more!
You might have to look closer to see these. Click the image and it will come up larger. 

For this next background wash, we are going to take the mix of blue/red and add in a touch of Payne's Grey.
Then make sure you don't paint over any hearts, simply the space between them.

When you have painted every space in between the hearts, you should have a card that looks like this, before you remove the masking tape.

and once you remove the tape, here is the card your beloved will enjoy on St Valentine's Day.

What a great way to express your love! Much better than a card from a store.
I hope you tackle this project - and get as much enjoyment from it, as I did.

Thanks for following along.


  1. Great idea! Thank you so much. I will brighten someone's Valentines Day.

    1. Excellent! I hope you post the result so we can all see!

  2. I love it and it sounds like something even I could do.

    1. Ann, you know you could do this! Give it a go and let me see what you do.

  3. Thank you for the tutorial.
    The hearts will make lovely Valentine's Day cards.

  4. Love to see your step by step painting progress, such lovely washes

  5. Wonderful work and so generous of you, Pat, to share such precious techniques with us! Sure all hearts were from your own biiig caring heart. Please take care and enjoy drawing and painting. Best wishes, Sadami

  6. A great idea , thanks for showing !

  7. Go on, give it a go, and surprise that special someone in your life with a handmade card! My special someone would be surprised with any card.
    Great idea ..... and great demo. ;-)

  8. I love the card! So colorful!

  9. Oh I love that, so colourful and I bet it was fun to paint

  10. I love all the various colors in this work. Very fun and lovely work.

  11. Très coloré. Superbe. J'adore. Bravo !


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