Wandering down the main streets of Mykonos, an island off the coast of Greece, I literally stopped dead in my tracks coming upon this little clothing shop. It reminded me of my childhood, seeing clothes outside on the clothes line, swaying in the gentle breeze. I think what struck me first was the color, or more the absence of color. All the clothes were white, except the one bright orange dress sticking out as if to say, “ look at me”!
Mykonos is known for it’s picturesque charm with white structures and white and stone painted narrow streets. I walked through this beautiful quaint island with a wonderful South African couple, who I just recently met. The owner of this shop was a very personable woman who exuded joy, laughing and joking with us tourists.
I must admit, I was intimidated to begin this painting. It’s not like painting a tree, where I wouldn’t have to worry about perspective and playing around with shapes. I printed out my photo and gridded it out to help me with placement on my pastel board. As it turned out, I never did bother with the grids, which just confused me.
My underpainting was done with gouache. I used white pastel board so the colors would be bright and fresh. I actually liked the painterly underpainting, a rarity since I generally just use it as background color and it usually just looks like big masses of color.
My main intent was to challenge myself with a picture that was a study in white. How to paint white in all colors but pure white and also interpret the value changes within. This ended up taking more of my time than most of my work because of the complex composition. For a very impatient painter as myself, I was surprised that I enjoyed slowing down, working with each element and seeing it come together.