Knowing what colors I don’t want to mix is useful information. Having Color Wheel Five at hand quickly clarifies my wants and not-wants, saving me both time and paint.

Coffee Time - sketchbook drawing

It is not always convenient to pull out my watercolors while having a nice meal with someone.  Most often, it’s acceptable to pull out my sketchbook and fountain pen while drinking coffee at the end of a nice meal.  Not only does it satisfy my desire to draw everything in front of me, it allows conversation to continue leisurely rather than ending abruptly when the coffee is gone and the refill pot hasn’t made its rounds.

When I am back in my studio I’ll often add a few washes of color on top of one of the sketchbook ink drawings.  I’ll use whatever colors are still available in the small, portable palette that I take with me when I paint during the Blues Jams.  Looking back and forth between palette and Color Wheel Five I come up with recipes for my washes.  In the case of the drawing above, I started first with the table color by mixing orange and red/violet for a neutralized wood-like color that would play nicely against the green of the book on the table.  The only color I cared about being true to was the color of my father’s poetry notebook.  Everything else worked off of the green book and the table top.

For the silverware I mixed French Ultramarine Blue and a touch of cadmium red, very diluted.  I could see from my color wheel that almost all my other mixes would give me a green-tinted gray, a purple-tinted gray or a boring dead gray.  For the water glass I went to the other near complement of Ultramarine Blue and mixed in a touch of yellow/orange.

The straw is pure cadmium red.  The straw is the star and everything else works as supporting actors, the neutrals supporting the fully saturated color.

Sketch: drawn first with fountain pen filled with black ink, followed by watercolor washes.