White on white is fascinating – and likely one of the most difficult ways to depict shape and texture. I took a little tour around the garden to see how an expert does it. Nature after all has been painting white-on-white for eons and perhaps there was a hint or two in how I could achieve the effects of pure-on-pure without resorting to pigment props.
Apparently not. There isn’t a real “white” – at least not when we talk about light. But there is when we talk about pigments. It’s complicated. Like the purity of my relationships, one cannot say it is or it isn’t because it all depends on what it contains and where it comes from.
I’m working on this. The good thing about white is that it is very accommodating to other colours. It has to be because without a dash of grey either as pigment or shadow what it transmits is lost in fuzzy splotch. It’s not a stretch to think that relationships are like that. The shadow side certainly brings out the highlights. Well it should anyway.
Someone asked me what it is like to be with the same person for 30 years. “I wish!” We’ve lasted 30 years because he’s not the same person I met. And thankfully neither am I, so that helps too. We’ve spent a number of those years on the stuff that defines the relationship. The dark shadows, the grey murky pigments, setting boundaries, defining likes and dislikes. Necessary virtues and vices when crafting a work of art.
But what we never figured on was the organic nature of growing older together. That much of this was beyond our small self and even beyond our imaginings. That something more powerful would shape that enso, would toss pigments into it giving it heft, depth, and topography. We don’t know what that is, where it comes from, or how it will leave us irrevocably changed. But it has been, is, and will be marked by a blending of white-into-white.