Big red delicious strawberries hardly ever make it into a painting before they are devoured, since my husband LOVES strawberry shortcake. This was painted a few years ago as a class demo using a good white shape to start the painting (John Salminen workshop info.) The beginning white shape is one continuous shape and goes off the paper on 3 sides. It must be irregular, unpredictable and have an oblique thrust to it.

Somehow, that beginning shape creates a strong skeleton that holds the whole painting together later, even though the white shape is no longer visible or even evident once the painting's completed. See the small photo for how the first step is done with just a very light wash over the areas that are not part of the good white shape. The wash should be done in the opposite temperature of the overall temperature of the final painting.(The small grayish shapes in the small photo are actually miskited areas to keep specific shapes pure white.)

There are several more steps to the good white shape approach for a painting, but it always amazes me that this process does so much to make a painting work well, whether it's an abstract or realistic. I use the process for most of my work now, as do several of the artists in my classes. It really makes good design and composition easier in the long run. Thank you, John!

"SHORTCAKE?" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Fabriano Artistico 12 x 17" COLLECTED