Years ago, when we were building our house, it was time to paint the walls, and we decided on white.
Well, that was easy, we congratulated ourselves, until we got to the paint store and started looking at white chips. There are multitudes of variations on white — some warmer, some cooler, some with a lilac tinge, others with brown, grey, blue, red, yellow, beige, green. When you put them side by side, they all have something to say — and before we decided on one white in five-gallon buckets, we wanted to make sure of just what they were saying.
So it is with anything white, and the flowers of White on White all have their variations in color and hue. While an element of pink and purple predominates, articulated by the background folds of the fabric, other colors — warm corals and oranges and yellows — emerge as well, emphasizing the fact that when it comes to white, there is no such thing as white.
The implications of this, extrapolated into life as a whole, lead one to think twice, or thrice, before jumping to firm conclusions. In the same way that issues can’t be divided into black on one side or white on the other, they really can’t be fairly declared black or white in the first place — simply because there are so many subtle gradations and graduated variations of everything.
It requires that we look closely and observe, letting our eyes travel from one petal to the next, past the leaves, around the vase, and into the background — enjoying the play of light and shadow that lend depth, perception, and interest to the scene.
It’s complicated, but so is everything about life. True white on white is pretty much a blank canvas, and where is the interest in that?
White on White, the original oil painting by Steve Henderson, is available for purchase through the website. The 16 x 20 oil painting on panel is sold with a gold frame, bringing the finished hanging size to 20 x 24.
Read the rest — Watercolor Success DVD for beginning and intermediate artists, Christmas cards at Give Write, at Start Your Week with Steve. And by the way, we made an error on the size of the painting in the newsletter — White on White is 16 x 20, not 16 x 12. It is reassuring to know that we are very much human!