There is no time to plan ahead when painting musicians jamming in a bar.  I dip into the paint based on the local color value rather than the hue since I can’t really see it in the dark anyway.  Fresher and more inventive color schemes are the result of such blind choices.

Arthur Nielson, The Grisly Bear, NYC

The next morning, in the light of day, the color scheme of a painting can sometimes be labeled.  I end up analyzing the effects of color combinations that please or intrigue me so that I might use them with intention in plein air or studio work.

Paintings that transition along the color spectrum from yellow to purple delight me.  On occasion I have forced this color scheme into a painting and failed miserably.  Yesterday morning when I spread out the paintings I had done the night before at Big Ed Sullivans Blues Jam at The Grisly Pear I smiled seeing this painting of Arthur.  The transitions work effortlessly.

Sometimes it can be an extremely small area of a painting that makes the difference.  In this case, I believe it is the tiny spot on Arthur’s shirt where the red of the guitar bleeds into the green of the shirt. It ties the softer, analagous colors of the top half of the painting to the bolder, sharp-edged shapes of the bottom of the painting where the colors at the other end of the spectrum reside.

The only color missing is blue, though it is represented in the green and in the purple.  Full spectrum paintings are more pleasing to me when one of the six primary and secondary colors is omitted in its pure form.

Painting: drawn first in black ink with dip pen followed by washes of watercolor