When painting in the dark it is difficult to know exactly how I’m mixing my colors.

Bill Lance playing saxophone at the Blues Jam

The stage lighting at the Tuesday Night Blues Jam often directs my brush into the strong yellows and reds both as background color and as flesh tones.

My palette usually consists of cadmium yellow light, lemon yellow, aurolean yellow, cadmium orange, cadmium red, alizarin crimson or Red Violet, Cerulean Blue, French ultramarine blue and dioxazine purple.  This week I squeezed out a bit of cobalt violet, a beautiful, slightly opaque pigment.

As the evening progressed I noticed that my tendency was to work with analogous colors, the cobalt violet blending with each of the other colors to create lovely transitions.  At the same time, the paintings asked for a bit of deviation from the violet variations.  Green, my last choice for just about any painting, came to the rescue as a muted, neutral mixed (I think) from french ultramarine, aurolean and a touch of cobalt violet and perhaps a bit of something else that was on my small palette.  Even in the dark I could see that the green was playing its part well in the paintings, supporting the other colors and letting them shine rather than taking front stage as green often does.  I will have to explore the possibilities of using a neutral, olive green in more of my work.

Painting of Bill Lance playing saxophone: drawn first in black ink using dip pen, followed by washes of watercolor.  Painted on location during the Tuesday Night, Todd Wolfe Blues Jam at the Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant in Easton, PA.

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