Is it really white?
When creating my artwork I put a lot of color into my whites.
In my teenage and early college years, I painted items white where I saw white. Logical right? Whether that was white feathers, fur, landscape areas, basically everything that I saw as white received that color.
As you can imagine, this worked only OK. The areas were lighter yest, but not interesting. At one point I was sitting in an art history class and my professor introduced me to El Greco. She spoke about how Greco was known for his whites, and how other artists studied his colors. The more she poke that evening, the more it clicked. Where whites really white?
Technically perhaps white can be defined as white, but when white is affected by reflected light, color, shadows, time of day, weather, water, foliage, and and all of these things started to make sense.
I began to experiment. I added color hesitantly and then too boldly. I would add and subtract color in my whites to see what would happen. If was amazing. Finally I was able to add definition to light areas without them appearing muddy or dirty.
Many many years and artworks later, I still think about El Grco and his whites when I am working on areas that for all logic says is white, but in reality the whites are composed of a myriad of colors and hues which is fascinating.
If you are an artist and you haven’t tried adding color to your whites, I encourage you to try it. Stay away from black and grey. See where it takes you. You might fall in love with adding color to your whites too.
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