Conquering the Subtlest Color of All
One of the mistakes even experienced artists make is to assume that white is actually white. So they go on color mixing whites with no dimension or depth. But what else would it be you might ask? Well, actually, a lot of different colors.
The white of a shadow on a flower is vastly different from the white of the sun hitting fresh snow. But the mind has a way of interpreting what the eyes sees, turning a complex mosaic into a simplified snapshot. So when we see snow, we think we see “white.” Yet in a painting, using one form of white is going to leave your painting flat. So how do you capture the full depth of a snowy landscape or the form of petals in a white flower? The answer is color mixing whites instead of taking white for granted as a color.
The Art of Color Mixing for Great Whites
In Watercolor Unleashed: Painting White Flowers, Julie Gilbert Pollard demonstrates the watercolor painting techniques and color mixing needed to paint beautiful white poppies. Three tips you can take start using right now for color mixing whites:
+Add vibrant color in the shadows and backgrounds to make the delicate petals pop.
+Whites on flower petals are as effected by shadow shapes and light shapes as any other color. Be sure you don’t “whitewash” when painting one object that happens to be white because there are likely subtleties you are missing out on.
+Whites are usually about little actual pigment and a lot of water. Dilute and do a few trial runs before you jump to your final surface.
Talking Winter Wonderlands of White All Summer Long
If pastel is your medium of choice, follow Liz Haywood-Sullivan’s advice on how to paint snow.
+If you count less than four colors, you haven’t spent enough time looking. There are a plethora of colors reflected in the snow. You’ll be surprised at how much color goes into a snowy landscape painting, from the mountains in the background and foliage peaking out, to the shadows and reflections of the sky and other objects around.
+Time of day is one of the biggest influencers on the color white. Powerful sunrise and sunsets will paint the landscape so it glows. The spectrum can shrink when the sun is high overhead.
All the Colors of White
I hope you feel passionate and confident about turning your eye toward whites. That pearls, seashells, daisies, snowy landscapes, glass and silver excite you because of all the colors. For more, get your copy of Julie Gilbert Pollard’s Watercolor Unleashed: Painting White Flowers, so you can forevermore paint your own vibrant and colorful whites starting today. Enjoy!