September 8, 2015

A New Painting: "White Wall"

White Wall, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 8 1/4 x 11 in.

I wondered if I could make a painting with a nearly blank center; a painting that was about white and the colors reflected or shadowed across it. The composition is quite simple, almost confrontational in its frontal planes. 
(Click to enlarge to see the surfaces more clearly.)

White Wall detail

There are warm reflected lights and cool shadows. I love the challenge of transforming paint into light.

White Wall detail

The colors were changed many times for the right balance of hue and value; the layering of translucent egg tempera makes a more interesting surface, with its slight variations in color .

White Wall, at 8 1/4 x 11 inches, is larger by a couple of inches than any painting I've done in the past few years, but it doesn't look so in this photo; that's because the scale of the forms is small compared to say, the large yellow curves at the upper right. I look at the painting now and think it could have been a bit bigger. To show how my paintings have gotten larger over time, I hung the painting Reds, from 2011 at the lower right, which is 7 x 5 inches, while the recent work is in the 8-9 inch range. That doesn't seem like such a big difference, but at these small sizes it's a large increase. I feel satisfied with the size and scale of my current paintings, but who knows where I'll go in the future....


  1. White is difficult to paint. I really like this.

  2. Deftly done Altoon. The dimensional relationships, contrasting forms, and varied color diffusions of the planes invite contemplation and continuous exploration, very successful piece...congratulations

  3. It's beautiful. I love white paintings, paintings of "white" walls -- Avigdor Arikha comes to mind.

  4. If that's not the painting calling the wall white....?

  5. Thank you all so very much. I like this painting and I'm glad you do too.