White on White

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

There was something about the shape of this resting sheep that compelled me to paint her: she seems hardly willing (or able!) to get up from her bed of hay. I start with a rough sketch of her outline and paint just the palest wash of her woolly form, leaving her face mostly white for now. The left side is warmer in temperature than the cooler shadowed side and the silhouette is just enough to be recognizable against the unpainted white background.

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

The first layer of shadow covers her ears and her front, the latter as one major, solid shape, though this (shadow) silhouette already suggests the curly wool. Since shadow development is the modus operandi here, the ears appear unnatural at the moment – too cool and flat. But that will change.

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

Warmer shadow shapes and the first colorful wash of the hay is painted. Now I can see that the right, shadowed side of the animal is too pale in value.

All images ©Bivenne Staiger

An initial wash of pink goes on ears and muzzle, and the shadowed front continues to be darkened. The right side is still too pale. Note that chin whiskers are apparent because of the darker negative space color behind them.

Sitting Pretty, Watercolor, 12×16″ ©Bivenne Staiger 2020

Finally, details and dark shapes are added to complete this portrait. Even a subject, which most would consider white, isn’t really white, and shadows can make a huge difference… Value and colors are full of nuance and can be easily tweaked and altered by an artist.

2 thoughts on “White on White

  1. Adorable!

    On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 3:00 PM Bivenne’s Art Blog wrote:

    > bivenne posted: ” All images ©Bivenne Staiger There was something about > the shape of this resting sheep that compelled me to paint her: she seems > hardly willing (or able!) to get up from her bed of hay. I start with a > rough sketch of her outline and paint just the pale” >

    Like

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