|Woman in White|
14 x 11
Manet was masterful at simplifying values; eliminating half tones, and grouping everything into either shadow or light. It made his work powerfully modern and it expressed strong light perfectly. There are colour changes within each of the major values, but, if you squint, they maintain a simple, graphic separation between them, reminiscent of the flat, Warhol portraits of 100 years later.
I painted "Woman in White" with a 4 colour palette of blue-black, white, yellow ochre and terra rosa. It's a modified Zorn palette which replaces a high chroma red with an earth red. The resulting colour range is deliberately muted to stop me from splashing out into colourist territory. I wanted this to be a purely tonal piece, almost monochromatic but without the sense of an academic exercise that monochrome sometimes projects.
Perhaps my favourite part to work on was the lost edge between hand and chin. Squinting showed me that they were close in value so I put them together and used the gap between cheek and palm to make sense of the area.
I enjoyed this experiment in limited value and colour. It makes highly dramatic paintings that have a lot of presence. I'll carry on noodling with it for a while until colour calls me back and I load up a full palette again.