Thursday, September 3, 2009


My latest obsession is white and the many shades of white. The photograph above comes from an old paint catalogue. Apparently there are more shades of white available than any other colour. Looking into the photograph you can see so many different shades ...... which makes it really difficult to choose the best colours to paint my walls.

The pieces above and below are created by South African ceramisists, Gerhard Swart and Anthony Harris, who specialize in striking installations for walls and tables.

"Place setting...a spirit voucher" by Gerhard swart and Anthony Harris. 122 X 244CM, Earthenware Ceramic.

Plates by Clementina Van der Walt, a leading name in South African Ceramics. Kim Sacks Gallery.

White Exhibition at the Hamill Gallery

Waiting 2 by Nina Rupena. Oil and stencil on canvas.

Journey to Pawhuska by John Douglas. Miranda Galleries.

Colour of Words by Wosene Kosrof


  1. I have just painted my walls in nutmeg white - people think it is white until they put something white against it and then they see that that startling quality of white is missing. The whole effect is slightly softer and more gentle - I think white can be so unforgiving.

  2. Weaver, I don't know if you've noticed...every time walls are painted in TV sitcoms the colour Magnolia comes up. It must be a safe colour. I like the sound of nutmeg white.

  3. Intersting to visit here as always! I enjoyed this post. White is certainly not boring,it symbolises purtity and cleanleness. I agree with weaver though, it can be very unforgiving!

  4. hi, white is a challenge! did you ever see lynne perrella's "white" in the book "true colors" ?white can lead one to many climates and many different houses it is fun to see what you found! lyle

  5. I like the sound of nutmeg white too.
    Great post Robyn, I do love the embroidery by Anna Torma...fantastic. about to check out some more of work (thanks for the links).
    We are painting white jugs in our still life class at the moment so I know what you mean by so many variations on white.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Jacky xox

  6. When I was growing up, my mother worked for Glidden paints, in part coming up with paint names. Coming up with another name for white over dinner could get pretty silly, but it was fun!
    These are beautiful examples of white art works - most have a somewhat mystical eeriness to them, but create a calm for me.

  7. Robyn another fantastic post of beautiful work..,thanks for the links.
    Love Anna Torma!

    Chalk USA is a warm white and a favorite wall colour of's soothing.

  8. OMG! I love the white color myself and all the other painting images you included. Are you familiar with Robert Ryman? He has been painting white paintings for years and there are books about him and his process. Pretty conceptual...

  9. Such beauty there is in all the shades of white, and I love this whole post... My favorite photo is the last embroidery by Anna Torma... I love the effect of different "pages" being connected and the wrinkled, yellow effect. It is lovely visiting you today! Roxanne

  10. What struck me the most about this post, Robyn, is that you are too busy CARVING to paint your walls...Talk about having your priorities right!

  11. What a wonderful collection of art. Looking forward to exploring your links this weekend.

  12. So many shades of little time. Wonderful post. Some great new artists to discover. A number of years ago I had the pleasure of seeing in person Lynne Perrella's white journal from the True Colors project. It was a vision and it struck me then just how many shades of white there really are!

  13. Ah ha, I've just been given lots of broken white tiles. Maybe I sould start stashing away white in all it's many shades!

    Thankyou for this R. It is all calming yet suprising.

    Glad you now have B band and went back to the 'creek' vid! :)

  14. Love the white. The art shown here is wonderful. The colour of words, the hirogylphics (?) of the "picture words" - too great!! thanks for showing these.

  15. I think all of our walls are a soft cream, so long ago I cant remember something like curds and whey, ceilings, here I think we always opted for ceiling white! Very boring but I have so many paintings climbing the walls they are really only something to hang them against.
    As usual a lovely collection of thought provoking pictures.

  16. Robyn--great post (as always)! Painting walls is not always what I want to do, but sometimes after it is done, I'm alot calmer. Keep carving!

  17. Lisa, very unforgiving.... and try matching whites to wear ...

    Lyle, I havn't seen the book but it will be going on my wish list.

    Jacky, different shades of white in the shadows of a white object .... or where the light falls ....quite amazing!

    Karin, my daughter came up with choosing names for lipsticks over dinner ...that was fun too.

    Jo, I would love to see Anna Torma's work face to face.

    Donna, I've just googled Robert Ryman. Thanks for mentioning him. Lots of exploring for me to do now!

    Roxanne, ..... and the "white" stitching on white fabric ...

    Curio, I'm not sure everyone would think I have my priorities right but life is too short with so much still to do that I can't worry about it.

    Kim, I've just had Broadband installed.... so many delicious links and so little time :-)

    Seth, it's the second time True Colors has come up. I will be ordering the book!

    HHMN, that's something I didn't include ... darn! ....I LOVE different shades of white in a mosaic. Shards of old china ...Yum!

    Jeane, Kosrof is one of my favourite artists. Amharic script as art ... fantastic!

    Penny, my walls are terrecotta/rust in the lounge and you would be amazed at how good paintings look on it .... and carvings.

  18. Lovely Robyn. Thanks for all the research you do! I’ve been exploring the links. Ah, the color white – so expansive, so calm, full of breathing room…Exquisite simplicity, like a perfect musical note.
    Looking forward to seeing what else you come up with now that you are high speed! Thanks for the mention. ;o)I may be thinking up names of lipsticks all day as a fun brain teaser! Do you remember the white lipstick phase? Ghostly!

  19. oh Robyn - aren't the shades and variations of white amazing - I love every image you have shown here! :)

  20. Toni, It's wonderful after the walls are painted but actually doing it is time consuming so I tend to put it off... and put it off.

    Leslie.... I draw the line at white lipstick :-)

    Jeane, enjoy!

  21. I like white objects in a room with colorful walls better than colorful things in a white room. That's just me though.

  22. i love the shades of white
    and put me in mind of lenore tawney's studio
    so i posted it on my blog
    you will find it here

  23. These are all so wonderful, especially the last three. I remember watching a video on the master colour guru himself, Kaffe Fassett, saying in his early days all he ever painted was white on white, and he was amazed at the amount of colour that was in there. I can appreciate white, but I live for colour.

  24. I'd love to do an all white room - think of the fun you could have with different textures! Wonderful post Robyn, thank you. By the way I've just scrolled down through your last few posts - they all look so wonderfully colour coordinated!

  25. oh me too; i am all a dripple about white right now, maybe always love it... (don't know what all a dripple means but i think it is good!) Beautiful post, love some of those paintings too; going to look at some of your links...

    be crazy good today! Thanda.

  26. One of my many gardens...(I have moved many times)...was an all white flower garden. I fell in love with the Latin word for white, alba.
    It never ceased to amaze me how many shades of white flowers come in...some looked green when put up against a white sheet of paper...I often used a sheet of white paper to discern the shade of white of each was a fun exercise.

    Wonderful thought provoking post, as always.
    Great many talented and interesting people.

  27. Once again a great post! If I had to choose it would be the last one. My choice of white for my cupboards is called muslin and you are right there are soooo many choices of white.

  28. Hi Robyn,

    Your blog ALWAYS contains inspiring things! I hopped over to "Textures, Shapes and color" and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you thank you.

  29. I've always loved bold color but I'm really feeling these whites. Love what you shared! Such beautiful work.

  30. like many, black and white does it all.....always a wonder visiting your site and learning so much...the whitney museum in new york has THE white rose, layers of white paint by Jay DeFeo in san francisco . phenomenol story, told well through the film by bruce conner, who documented the moving of this from her apartment...over 40 years ago. with a crane, i think. heavy, literally. interesting and beautiful, and moving, that white rose.

  31. good thing you dropped in and left a calling card - i hadn't been by for a's a veritable Wunderkammer here, me dear. and now to trawl through all those delicious links from the last three or four posts...
    toodles, india

  32. The all white pictures have such a creamy, smooth texture to them! I like that piece by John Douglas too. Thanks.

  33. This post draws me back again and again - I even found myself peeking at it from work, which is really quite naughty. I love the Nina Rupena, John Douglas and Anna Torma pieces especially - all so different but SO appealing.

    I also LOVE the black and white wall in the post above - the last picture with the window - gorgeous!

  34. a wonderful collection. so much can be expressed in white - the warmth and the chill, the vacant, the vast, the solitary and the plain.

    whenever i think about painting my walls "a color" i find myself getting lost in the subtle shadows
    and leaving them white. navajo white i think.

  35. gorgeous... white on white!!! i am a collector of fabric in white and off white...i love the texture and varied weaves. Robyn, your blog is the ultimate place to visit for inspiration and creative immersion!