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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dad's White Petunias - a painting

The color white has always eluded me in paint. It's just white, right? NOT! Ever since I watched my last teacher, Helen Van Wyk, paint a still life in white, I've been struggling with every attempt ever since.

First off, white is not a color and neither is black, by the way. And neither is black and white mixed together. The blacks and whites we find in tubes are essentially flat and dead until they are mixed with other colors. To me, white is the essence of light and light is created by our sun.

Therefore it is warm and we must use a warm color to add life to our white. Warm colors would be yellow, orange or red. I chose yellow to warm my white.

I worked this painting starting with a black and white (no color) underpainting in acrylic to make my application of color easier. Also, it's a great way to set up the composition. Unfortunately, Dad's flowers are in Vermont and I live in Massachusetts so a photo is necessary. Besides, I'm not fond of working out in the hot sun with the bugs. This was something I wanted to study and take my time with.

Over the course of two months I slowly worked with the shapes and the values, establishing those wonderful shadows. Eventually I plopped in the greenery and continued to edit the shapes. This was done by turning the canvas upside down
and sideways at times. Really helps to see what's off.

Eventually, the bitty white flowers were added, more tweaking. At the end I was simply using a #1 round and #1 filbert brush.

I'm thinking - maybe a really large canvas of white petunias? I am very happy with this painting and feel I have finally accomplished the feeling of "white." Thank-you, Helen, wherever you are, for your on-going inspiration. And, thank-you, Dad for having such a beautiful garden.

And the title is "Dad's White Petunias." You can see this painting on my website......


Happy painting!

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