White on White

First of all, Green Bay won the Super Bowl. Yeah! Of course we would have rather seen our Cowboys in the big game but it just was not in the “stars” for this year. But enough football, it’s back to work this morning. One of the things I really like about collaborating with my collectors on special paintings is I’m forced into Uncharted Territories. The building in the left foreground is a challenge to paint. The actual building is white with a heavy mortar pattern. It was in full sun in the photo I’m using for reference. Because the light is coming into the piece from the left, highlighting the Library of Cestus, this building is in shadow. I use several shades of lavenders and blues to block in the building. With a large brush I go back in and indicate the irregular mortar. I’ve never rendered a building with this kind of texture, painting the white on white is a fun test in values. I can’t get too dark or the building won’t look white, yet it needs to be dark enough to appear to be in shadow. Getting the rest of the canvas covered will make a big difference.

Painting the small tile roof above the door is also a new experience. Normally I would paint terra-cotta tiles but the Turkish ones are white. I’ll probably make a few adjustments to them after I paint the Bougainvillea¬† in the foreground. Now for the sign over the door. I use a Mahl Stick to steady my hand while drawing the letters into the wet paint with a thin mixture of Alizarin Crimson + Liquin. I draw the letters very lightly at first to make certain I have the spacing correct. Then I go back and finish the individual nuances of the characters.

When doing the sketch for this piece I didn’t have a clue what I would plant in the flower boxes. My client and I discussed what would go there. I told him that sometimes the paint tells me what to do, I would just have to wait until I started working. As soon as I finished the blue shutters and flower boxes I knew Magenta Petunias were perfect to fill the containers! Thanks for visiting today. Come back soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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