Color Interactions


Granted, there is only one tiny piece of paper glued onto the watercolor paper, but….. that still makes it a collage.

Orbs No. 22, Watercolor & paper, 22" x 30"

Orbs No. 22, Watercolor and tiny piece of handmade red paper, 22″ x 30″

I’m not a purest when it comes to painting.  When the painting begins to take on a personality, I nurture that personality, mood, story, whatever it might be evolving into, with anything and everything I can to make it the most that it can be.  In this case, the painting needed a tiny rectangle of red paper (1″ x 1.5″).  The final touch was the dark orb next to the piece of red paper.  Before adding those two elements, the depth of the painting was remarkably shallow.  Those two elements, one because of the color contrast and the other because of the value contrast, created the illusion of extreme, infinite space.  It helped to view a black and white version of the painting as it neared completion.  I make a habit of viewing my paintings in black and white to avoid guessing at design problems that might be resolved with only one or two strokes.

I used a combination of brush, splatter, junk templates, mouth atomizer, saran wrap, collage, scrape and comb.

Orbs. No. 22 – Watercolor and paper, 22″ x 30″, to be included in the Healing Arts exhibit at Overlook Hospital in November.

The orb paintings are piling up nicely in the studio.

Orbs No. 21 - 22" x 30" Watercolor

Orbs No. 21 – 22″ x 30″ Watercolor

The series is taking on a diversity that I didn’t expect and I’m pleased with the way it is shaping up.  Orbs No. 21 has less layers than some of the others, yet the illusion of space is still strong.  I wanted the blues and greens to dominate and the tiny bits of red to create powerful dynamics without being overbearing.

I now have plenty of paintings for the Healing Arts Exhibit at the Bouras Gallery in Overlook Hospital that begins at the end of October.  I hope to have twice as many as I need so that I can pick the strongest to hang in the show.

Color Scheme:  Analogous with one complement.

Back in the studio opening up all my leftover cans of worms…

"T" - watercolor painting 22" x 30"

“T” – watercolor painting 22″ x 30″

As wonderful as a clean and orderly studio is, it’s terribly intimidating and resistant to what I need to do in its clean and orderly space.  I dragged out six of the 22″ x 30″ watercolors I started prior to moving out of my wonderful, giant studio with natural light that flooding in through huge windows.  I had the first three layers of thrown paint on the six sheets of watercolor paper.

I’ve come a long way since I threw that paint.  My color sense has taken a severe swerve away from where it was.  What I want from a painting now is far more than I have ever wanted before.  I panicked, then started to throw paint.  This time I chose the hue and value carefully.  I varied the marks with brush, scraper and my breath…..  splatter, splat, blow, flick, drop, scrape…. let dry…. flatten….. and then begin the cycle again.  I had no expectations of having a resolved piece of work for at least a couple of days.  The world is often full of surprises!

Watercolor Painting: “T”  – 22″ x 30″ watercolor

Coming up soon!  Both The Color Scheme Game Workshop and the Color Value Workshop is being offered back to back at the National Association for Women Artists in New York City on June 18th and 19th.  Call the N.A.W.A. office to register (212) 675-1616.  Space is limited to eight students.

Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Deep and Ultramarine Blue

Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Deep and Ultramarine Blue

Since teaching the last workshop at N.A.W.A. I have had several personal breakthroughs with color, experimenting with more neutralized primaries and discovering gorgeous palettes.  I also attended a fabulous workshop with Don Andrews.  Again, I experienced several important breakthroughs regarding maintaining strong color when working with color value.  I’ll be sharing these breakthroughs at the upcoming workshops in New York City.

Herman's Roping Boots

Seashells, Westmoreland State Park, VA

Seashells, Westmoreland State Park, VA

Seashells No.3, Myrtle Beach, SC

Seashells No.3, Myrtle Beach, SC

Blue Crab Belly

Blue Crab Belly

Click here for more info and materials list.  Please Contact me if you have questions.

(1. ) Matted, framed and dropped off paintings for solo exhibit at Connexions Gallery in Easton, PA …. done  (2.) Picked up paintings from exhibit in Brooklyn … one sold! …. done (3.) Figure out how to film, edit and post short art videos for my students …. still a long way to go to get better, but done.  The list goes on.  Fortunately, all but a few items on the current Art Business list are checked off.  Today the list will grow again, but last night I felt the pressure was off.  I laugh when people envy my life as an artist thinking that I have all the time in the world to do exactly what I want to do.  My life as an artist definitely is enviable, but not for that reason.

Pete's Angel playing to a lame audience

Pete’s Angel playing to a lame audience

What might be envied is the joy of curling up in a comfy chair, a warm breeze crossing the room, the sound of gentle rain with an occasional flash of lightning, fountain pen in hand, drawing two of my constant companions, the little garden angel given to me by my friend, Pete, and my skeleton, Henry.  They keep each other company beside the fireplace in the living room.

Why post this random though on Creative Color?  Because I am still exploring the beauty of the neutrals I can achieve with that ugly pigment, Cadmium Red Deep!  I began my intense study of color three, almost four years ago so that I could bring more full intensity, highly saturated color into my paintings.  That mission has been accomplished and I am enjoying full intensity hues more than I imagined possible.  Now I am going deeper into the world of beautiful color and playing with neutrals.  Without realizing it, most of my daily sketchbook paintings, though rich in color and value, do not use any of the three pigments in full intensity.  All of the colors applied to the drawing are mixes of all three primary pigments in my limited palette of raw sienna, cadmium red deep and ultramarine blue.  This is my third week exploring this palette and I like it more each day.  Though I’m excited about whatever my next three primaries might be, I can’t seem to leave this palette behind.

Image:  Drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

For those of you who live within driving distance of Santa Rosa, California …. I will be teaching workshops at both Village Art Supply (April 25th & 26th) and Riley Street Art Supply (April 27th & 28th)  Please contact me if you would like more info!

Link to short art videos:  Vimeo.com/ChrisCarterArt/

Link to Website Blog: ChrisCarterArt.com/blog/

In the early 70’s I rented an apartment near Cleveland Circle in Boston.

Sliced-Apples-Artist-Trading-Cards-ink-Watercolor-chris-carter-artist-030613-sz-web

The kitchen was narrow with high ceilings. A large window allowed the morning sunlight to pour past the potted herbs onto the glass doors of the cupboards, the counters and the floor.  The night I painted the walls bright orange and the cupboards fire engine red, I dropped into bed with a migraine.  I thought it was from the colors I’d chosen in too small a room.  Most likely, it was from the fumes.

Next morning, I awoke to the most cheerful kitchen I’d ever experienced.  The following year, I moved to a studio/loft space where I repeated the red and orange interior decor wherever possible … the bathroom I constructed and the one wall that wasn’t brick.  The memories of those days flooded back to me while painting this morning’s drawing, a sketch of Mike’s kitchen in Mountain View last month.  I threw the die and came up with the color scheme Analogous with One Complement.  The dominant color was to be orange/yellow.  As I remembered the effect of the fire engine red paint, my orange/yellow counter top became more of a red/orange.

Artist Trading Card – Morning Sketch: Sliced Apple, drawn in ink with fountain pen, followed (weeks later) with watercolor.

The large leaves of the Nespera Tree and the small leaves of the Rosemary Plant are painted using the same palette.

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya-japonica) Nespera

Loquat Tree (Eriobotrya-japonica) Nespera

Rosemary Plant

Rosemary Plant

The palette for the leaves is cadmium lemon, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, cerulean blue and french ultramarine blue.

The background colors are drastically different.  The color scheme for the Nespera illustration is Analogous with Near Complement.  The color scheme for the Rosemary illustration is Extended Analogous.

Sketchbook drawings: drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.  3.5″ x 2.5″ standard size for Artist Trading Cards.

I love strong reds playing against strong purples.  I do not love strong reds playing against strong greens.

Cross Complements with a bit of adjustment

Playing The Color Scheme Game forces me out of my comfort zone.  I groan every time I throw the die and it indicates any sort of Red and Green combination.  This morning I threw a Cross Complements Color Scheme with red as one of my colors.  That gave me Red, Green, Orange-Yellow and Blue-Violet.  I took the liberty of neutralizing my green, turning it into more of an olive green.  My original attempt was more of a yellow-green.  It was so brilliant and strong that it detracted from the strength of the red against purple relationship.  The olive works much better.  The yellow-green was also too light a value for the shapes and forms.

Sketchbook drawings: Garlic Bulb and Empty Anchovies Tin, drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Whaleman’s Sepia ( I like this ink a lot ), followed by watercolor washes.

Color Scheme: Cross Complements (Limited Palette of Red, Green, Yellow-Orange and Blue-Violet)

As much as I love my fountain pens, I am enjoying this new direction of journaling the light and weather throughout the day.  It allows me the freedom to let colors mix and merge across the paper, producing somewhat unpredictable and often lovely results.

3:45 pm on September 28, 2012

It’s no surprise that watercolor paper is working better for me than the BFK Rives printmaking paper working wet into wet.

I am perceiving the nuances of color changes as clouds cross the sky, filtering and altering the sun’s rays, more each day.  I wonder if this is the result of the color studies I’ve been doing, having opened a door to another level of vision.  I like this new world that has opened up to me.  Landscapes have transformed into a theatrical stage with the sun and the sky acting as the Lighting Engineers.  I’m learning their trade so that I can manipulate the illusions I create on canvas and paper.

Rose Madder is the only fragrant pigment I am aware of.  I couldn’t resist adding a bit of it to the Rose Geranium sketch I posted previously.

Three Stages of the Rose Geranium Study

I could have, and probably should have stopped after adding two spots of Rose Madder.  But ….. my mind kept wandering to that place of curiosity that so often gets me into trouble, while at the same time pushes me ahead.  I wanted to see what the Rose Geranium drawing would like like with a background of yellow/orange.

Memories of playful times in the 60’s and early 70’s flooded my thoughts …. skirts made from half a yard of Marimekko fabrics, kitchen walls painted bright orange with window trim in bright pink …. and brightly patterned BBQ shirts.  Now chefs wear pants made from similar fabrics that awaken the senses.

The study went from being focused on shapes and patterns to being focused simply on playful color … not necessarily a bad thing.

Rose Scented Geraniums with Rose Madder and Orange

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