Monday, August 22, 2011

Painting White

Sometimes I wonder about my sanity when it comes to what motivates me to pick up the paint brush.  I know I get bored easily with simple set ups so I look for challenges that capture light, fabric, and objects of white.  Last week a friend loaned me this antique white tablecloth that had been in her family for years and she's 85, so it has all that I love.  It also has a lot of hand-made lace, cutouts, and embroidery.  It brings back long ago memories of my grandmother crocheting beautiful tablecloths and bedspreads.  Did I mention that I chose a 36 X 48 inch canvas to add to the challenge?  Here is a partial picture of the set up with a clay pot.  Sorry for the fuzziness.

 Although I am not finished, I have it all blocked in and some of the lace partially finished.  Besides rendering the lace which in of itself is a major challenge, determining all the values of white both warm (in the light side) and cool (in the shadow side)  are causing me to loose what sanity I have left.  At one point I went back to a book on Sargent and looked at his beautiful whites in shadow. It did the trick.  I think I will make a T shirt that says . . . . What would Sargent do?  After the initial block-in of what I thought was correct, I have had to adjust and readjust the values.  Keeping edges soft is a must for it to look lacy and soft.  I'm doing a lot of talking to myself in the form of pep talks.  I work on a section a day for three or four hours at a time so I don't get too tired and start making mistakes.  It's important not to try to render every stitch and every detail of the lace.  Constantly squinting keeps out extraneous information but does cause wrinkles.

I see another week or two of daily work to finish this piece.  If I pull it off, it will be a painting that I don't think I will be able to part with unless the price is right.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Below is a close up of some of the lace work I have laid in.  I'll post a picture of the finished piece in a couple of weeks


  1. Gorgeous so far- looking forward to seeing the finish. And it's BIG- bravo!

  2. Thanks Deborah. I can't tell you how excited I am about this painting. I love pushing myself to tackle difficult compositions. It's as much about head than hand.

  3. Love it! big and beautiful! Can't wait to see it finished!

  4. I think I've got about five more days of work but maybe not. I can't wait to post the finished piece. This may be my best ever. Thanks for the comment. Hope you are feeling great.

  5. ohhhh.........I'm IS unbelievable pretty..such a light...such a shadows.... I;m fell in love......
    Since oct 2010 I also trying to paint some still lifes but chapeaux bas for you!;-)) If I could I would like to learn from you..but I'm living in a small village in Ireland..far far away of You;( Greetings and warm hugs from me;-)


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