March 13, 2014 – “Blue, Green & Clear Glass on White”, 7″ x 10″
So, the challenge with this still life painting was to bring clear objects out of the white background. There was a bit of a cheat in since the objects were placed on a dark tabletop and there were dark objects to the left and above. The dark objects created dark reflections on the glass, helping to reveal the edges.
On the other hand, white highlights tend to disappear in the white background unless they are surrounded by reflections of different and darker colors.
One way to differentiate the white background from the white highlights is to place some color in the background. This is an old trick I employ in my landscapes, specifically when there are white structures in the painting. Rather than leave large passages of plain white paper, I tint these white areas with alternate splashes of light color – one warm, one cool. In the case of this painting, the background wall was tinted with light touches of cadmium orange and cerulean blue. Although the color is not strong, it is just different enough so that the white highlights on the glass standout a little more – especially important where the highlight reveals the edge of the shape.