How to paint with watercolor online courses

My Newest Articles have a new home!

 From now on you will find my newest watercolor articles on my Master Watercolor Essentials site.  Once you have read the articles here, click the button below to access the latest articles.

Negative Painting – An Exercise to Help Make it Positive

Negative Painting

Negative painting is where you define the shape of the object by painting the space (negative space) around it. I painted the painting using the negative painting technique.

Negative painting white cone flowers by Krista Hasson

Below, I have included an exercise that you can do to help you get the hang of negative painting. Let me know how you make out.

Negative Painting Exercise


I painted this exercise in watercolor but you can do it in any medium you have. I listed the colors I used below but again use what you have.

  • Hansa Yellow (light cool yellow)
  • New Gamboge yellow (medium warm yellow)
  • Cobalt blue (medium cool blue)
  • Quinacridone red (medium cool red)

For this exercise I used a 6×6” square and made my smaller squares 2×2”, but you can make it any size you want.


I have a free pdf version of this article so if you would like to save this exercise and do it at your own leisure fill in the form below. Scroll down to continue reading the article and exercise 🙂

Start this exercise by wetting your paper and paint it wet in wet with your light yellow (Hansa) paint. Let it dry completely (use a hairdryer to speed things up if you want).

Once this is dry draw 3 smaller squares (not touching) on your paper. Paint around these squares negatively with your medium yellow (Gamboge). Let it dry completely.

Draw on more squares (not too many, leave room for more) letting the first ones overlap. 

Paint the negative spaces with quinacridone red, leaving the yellow squares. Dry completely before moving on.

Draw a few more squares on the quinacridone red layer and paint the negative areas with a layer of cobalt blue. Dry completely.

Then draw in your last few squares on the cobalt layer. Mix a nice purple with quinacridone red and cobalt to apply to the last few negative spaces left. You have created colored squares without painting squares.

This technique works great for background layers of leaves or trees and many others.  Paintings can have both negative and positive painting in them. This technique can really add interesting areas and backgrounds in your paintings. Try it out, the possibilities are endless.

Thank you for sharing your time with me!




PS:  Don’t forget to leave your comments below and sharing is always appreciated!


Scroll Down to get my free color guide
Join my Facebook Community–Creative Watercolor with Krista


Read more articles on painting  HERE

Experience the Joy of Art

Krista Hasson Artist painter oil and watercolor batik


I am Krista, a Canadian artist born and raised on the east coast in beautiful New Brunswick. My paintings come from my love of nature, a place of pure joy.


Get Your Free Guide!

Essential watercolor supplies Beginner

Join my Free FB Community!


 learn how to paint with watercolor

New series of online watercolor lessons. Special sale price for a limited time!