Virtues in white

This is going well – Here’s Justice with a quickly painted en grisaille setting the tone for the later layers. I really enjoyed the luxury of knifing down thick flake white paint so that there’s some rich texture in the body of the cloth. When I’m doing knife work I’m careful not to allow ridges of paint to build around the edges of things, because that would cause horrible problems later. The edges are always softened by a rag.

Flake white is my favorite white, although it’s toxic as hell, so I avoid getting any on my fingers as much as I can. 

After I got the flake white down, I added a bit of zinc white to it, because there’s a subtle difference between the two. Flake is a little grayer than the zinc, which is a touch more opaque than the flake. I use Titanium later in the process because it’s super bright and very opaque. I would use it earlier too, but there are too many problems with the surface of the paint when it dries – it causes further layers of paint to bubble and not sit properly. You can’t put much over a layer of white anyway. Look at those gorgeous pre-raphaelite paintings in the Tate Britain – they’re all crazed because of this.

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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2 Responses to Virtues in white

  1. pearce says:

    Indeed – they’re fantastic!

  2. deb says:

    But never the less still amazing

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