Painting Class: Morandi and the Demon White

The painting pixies must have been reading my blog last week because the theme for class this time around was white on white. Although I may not have picked up the best panting habits in my previous painting classes, one thing my professor did provide was an exposure to a few painter's I've come to really appreciate. One of them is Giorgio Morandi, a turn of the century Italian painter who's oeuvre consists almost entirely of quiet, mostly white and grey still life studies of a a dozen or so vases and bottles he painted over and over and over again. If you'd like to know more about Morandi there's was a great article in the New Yorker by Peter Schjeldahl.

Well this week it was our turn to play Morandi. We were given a still life of mostly white things on a mostly white background, a palette of white and little else, and a couple hours to work it all out.

Here's mine:

So, how did it go?

Well first of all, as with last week, the titanium white tends to make everything a bit soapy which was giving me some grief. I'm sure the solution here is something along the lines of "embrace the soapy".

What else? At the end of class we all look at each others work and I noticed how much I liked the patchy colors that some of the other student's came up with. I spent a good deal of time mixing colors on my palette to find the right color and value, but the others did their mixing on the canvas and got much more interesting modeled colors. Something to try for next week.

By the end of class I also noticed that I'd completely forgot about using complement colors to make shadows and highlights. I'd opted instead to mix up a makeshift black from burnt sienna and ultramarine blue and mix that with my colors to find different shades. It takes a lot of the vibrancy out of the shadows but in this case I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

More next week.