The making of “White on White”

A little over two weeks ago I pulled a canvas from storage and started my first painting in twenty-one months. My inspiration came from the Berkeley telephone poles I had been covering for more than five years in a series named “Typography Graveyard.”

The canvas was first covered with grocery shopping bag paper because of its strength, secured with medium gel, then a second layer of paper was applied. This application served to recreate the three-dimensional shapes that were captured in my photographs. Afterwards when the entire area was given another application of medium gel before everything was covered with gesso, including the underside of the exposed paper forms.

Now with the canvas surface prepared and ready for paint, the area was painted with three different shades of white acrylic paint, followed by one more application of acrylic colours so that I had the colourations I was after. A few days later it would receive a layer of oil paint, mixed with a high percentage of Winsor & Newton’s Liquin; this would function as a glaze and allow some of the acrylic painting to blend through, for a richer but still subtle colour range.

One of the features in this painting is how changing light within room affect the paintings surface. The many shadows that seem to come to life and chance the paintings appearance throughout the day. It is this added—not noticeable at first—nuance that turns a minimalistic painting into a contradiction of riches.

Stage one: covering the canvas with a layer of paper

Stage one: completed

Stage two, partial completion of the texture layer

Stage two: completed

Stage two: completed

Stage three: application of gesso

Stage three: me applying the gesso

Stage three: completed

Stage three: completed application of gesso

Stage four and five: completed application of two layers of acrylic paint.
What follows is stage six: a glazing with oil paints.

“White on White”
MM-O/C 36x48” (91.44 x 121.92 cm) 

Thank you for your visit
and comment . . .



William Cook said...

How cool is this! I'm in like. Your stage 1 resembles a stage 1 I did a while back. Of course my piece went off in a different direction.

I've just found your work and have been really enjoying all these wonderful approaches. Great stuff!Wm

Catherine said...

Hello Egmont!

How wonderful to find inspiration to get back into painting. I really enjoyed seeing all the stages you went through to create this piece. Fantastic!

Hope all is well ~ sending best wishes!
xo Catherine

JJ said...

Egmont: I must say I do admire your creativity. I am also grateful that you are painting.

Renee Howell said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your process. I love understanding the thought and execution of the artist. And white on white with grocery bags - an honorary position for a simple work bag.

Teri said...

There is just no end to your creativity, Egmont! This just goes to show you that you don't need expensive materials to make something wonderful. I think that the texture is really appealing. It has that texture that you found on the poles...all ragged, stapled, hanging pieces. I can see how you came to this idea based on what you did previously with your "pole" study. Great to see you being inspired and happy again. Love it!

Dianne Poinski said...

Thank you for sharing your process and I am so happy to see that you are painting and obviously having a wonderful time doing it. The finished piece is beautiful! Can't wait to read and see more!

Mark Sheeky said...

Hi Egmont. Good to see how this was done. Thanks for sharing.

Ange said...

Egmont, I think it's FABULOUS!!
Are you putting it up for sale? Or doing some more in a series and exhibiting them? You have inspired me yet again. Haven't worked with gel medium yet …Looking forward to trying :-)
Ever yours
PS - no guilt - We will catch up soon I know!!

Marlynn said...

Egmont - I loved this wonderful journey, since I don't create this way, it was absolutely inspiring to see your work come to life. I love white on white! Thank you so much for sharing, M

weaverpat said...

Thank you, Egmont, for sharing your technique for creating this amazing piece. I am so glad you are feeling inspired to paint again.
I love the way the texture casts it's own shadows, giving added depth and a changing visual experience.
I look forward to viewing your next work.

ArtPropelled said...

What a great piece! I feel inspired watching your process.

Carol said...

So good to see you back painting again, and what a stunning work! I loved seeing your process, thank you for sharing this.

Ian Foster said...

This is a real 'tour de force' Egmont, it has carried textured paintings to a new level. I particularly like the limited palette you have used.

Kelly said...

Thank you for showing us the process! I'm new to your blog and look forward to spending some time here.

~*~Patty S said...

...a "contradiction of riches"...
Love that phrase Egmont!
And I Love what you've created...brilliant seeing the size of it too with you busy at work.

That is quite a work of art to jump into after your must be well pleased with it!

taio said...


lines n shades said...

you are gifted... i loved seeing the stages.. and the result... awesome :)

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings Taio,

Thank you for your visit and comment. Please feel free to comment in your own language.

Warmest regards,

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings Aparna,

Thank you for dropping by and for your kind words about the painting.

I am glad you appreciated seeing the various stages. I do this for two reasons, to demystify the process and show that any creative art work requires advance contemplation to solving technical and other issues.

Warmest regards,

La Dolce Vita said...

My Dear Egmont, what a great piece... I like the weight of it, amazing how the right papers can add substantially to a piece.
It reminds me of those posts that I see in boulder with all the flyers ripped down and white washed clean, the ephemera still shows and the layers of information... wonderful texture and storytelling dear one...
blessings to you,
ps thanks for your kind visit to Bell'Antico, xo

isabel gutiérrez said...

Hola Egmont, no había puesto mucha atención a este blog, pero lo he visto desde otro blog de un amigo y me ha encantado. El proceso de tu cuadro es extraordinario, y como veo lleva un buen trabajo.

Tambien he visto el proceso de la orquídea, cuyo resultado es buenísimo.

Bueno, pues me apunto a este blog también. Muchos besos, Isabel