Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Power of Saved Whites

White is a powerful attractor, especially when the shape is interesting and it is surrounded by very strong midtones or darks. 

The white area in this tugboat didn't require much alteration to achieve an interesting shape.  The challenge was to emphasize it with strong and colorful colors and accents.

Covering a large area such as the sky in this painting can be daunting.  If you start on dry paper, the wash can quickly become filled with hard edges where you stop to pick up or mix more color.  In order to avoid that, I first mixed up a large puddle of thalo blue/green.  Then I wet the sky area with clear water almost to the white area. It was then easier to flood the area with color and adjust it by picking up some ultramarine blue or more thalo green. 

Values were extremely important in exploiting the pure white of the paper.  The white of the paper can fool you into thinking you're going dark enough, so I tried to think of going darker than I thought it should be.

When the sky and water were dry, I began to further punch up the whites with the trim on the boat.  I changed my blue to cobalt so it would be dark enough but warmer than the cool blues of the sky.

The final stage was to add the little red accents. 

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