Sometimes strangers go unnoticed in a crowd, sometimes they call attention to themselves by their shape, size or attire.  And so it is with elements in a painting.

“Stranger in a Strange Land” (14″ x 22″) watercolor

While preparing for tonight’s demonstration of The Color Scheme Game for the members of the Art Association in Roxbury, NJ, I painted an abstract composition of geometric shapes, larger than I normally work when playing the game each morning.  I thought this might work better than the over-sized keys.

Over-sized Keys on a Keyring

I’ll be painting beneath a mirror. The audience can watch as I work on a flat table.  The room is a large cafeteria.  I’m concerned that demonstrating my morning ritual of drawing in my sketchbook will be difficult to view because of the small size of the sketchbook.  However, by playing the game on a large piece of paper I would present the game as a way to create something to mat and hang on the wall rather than as an important and fun exercise to sharpen my skills and explore new territory without the pressure of making everything work.

There is one small shape in the geometric abstract that I washed out and repainted.

Detail of “Stranger in a Strange Land”

This resulted in a blue-green shape that clearly does not belong in the color scheme of the painting.  This is a perfect example of what can happen when painting a street scene en plein air ….. the light of the late afternoon sun is reflecting off the buildings, streets and trees …. a crowd of people are shopping at an outdoor market ….. a woman is wearing a beautiful, blue-green dress that the artist can’t resist painting into the scene ….. but the effect of the light is lost as the artist mixes a beautiful blue-green color based on what she thinks she sees instead of the color as it is affected by the sun and the late afternoon sky.

Abstract Painting: ( 14″ x 20″) drawn first in pencil followed by washes of watercolor using a limited palette of one red, one blue and one yellow.

Giant Keys: (14″ x 20″) drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink followed by watercolor using a limited palette of one red, one blue and one yellow.

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