Using White in Floral Still Life Paintings

Using White in Floral Still Life Paintings, by Ora Sorensen


Casablancas (above; oil, 30×40)

To keep the whites in a painting from looking like austere shades of cold gray, you must train your eyes to see the whole spectrum of colors in the white objects around you. Seashells, pearls, crystal, glass, silk, snow, daisies and silver all throw off different hues and yet are perceived as white. It’s up to you as a painter to see beyond the superficially monochromatic appearance of an all-white subject—to bring out all the reflected colors and then orchestrate them to make your whites come alive with refracted color.

Study carefully the whites in my three paintings (one above and two below) and you’ll notice that I used a whole rainbow of colors to create a variety of convincing whites.

For a fuller explanation on painting white, see Ora Sorensen’s article, “A Rainbow of White,” in the January/February 2009 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Lalique Vase (above; oil, 48×36)


Silver Pot (above; oil, 48×36)

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