color value


A new way to explore when traveling…. or even at home…. Nine Squared Walk’n’Draw!

The results of the Walk'N'Draw

The results of the Walk’N’Draw

It was time for me to make up a new game to play.  I’m now working on Design and Temperature.  In Susan Abbott’s workshop earlier this year, she emphasized the order of priorities when painting….. First comes Shapes, then Values, then Temperature and lastly, Color.  With that in mind, I used the concept of my video “Twenty Steps” to create the new game I’ve titled Nine Squared.

Basic Materials to walk with

Basic Materials to walk with

Before the walk, I drew a grid of nine rectangles on nine sheets of watercolor paper.  All I needed to bring with me were the sheets of paper, a mechanical pencil, a waterbrush, a mini Altoid tin with warm and cool pigment (I only needed two pans, not all three that are shown above) and my leather folder that I use as an easy-to-hold drawing surface that doubles as a folder to carry the paper.

Pencil sketch not shown

Pencil sketch not shown

I begin the walk, taking Nine times Nine steps in any direction (Eighty one steps).  I stop, choose a composition, snap a photo and start my timer for nine minutes.  In those nine minutes I determine my shapes and repeat them in two more rectangles.  I leave one as the pencil drawing, paint the second as a value sketch in browns and the third as a temperature sketch in warm and cool pigment.

Like any of my games, I allow myself to break the rules on a regular basis.  I do not stop in the middle of a busy street just because I’ve reach step number eighty-one.  If there is a nice place to sit in the shade and I reach it at step seventy-three, I stop and sit down.  If I need twelve more steps to get to a nice shady spot, I take those extra steps.  The rules are simply a guide to force me to be more observant of every spot I pass through and to determine warms and cools to create stronger design.

Images:  small en plein air watercolor sketches in Mountain View, California

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.

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.

I just received a copy of the video shot during last week’s demo.  It’s long, and also pretty entertaining.

Chris Carter Demo 2013 from John Wolff on Vimeo.

Thank you Essex Water Color Club!

As much as I don’t like green and red together, I think green and rose is beautiful.

Scented-rose-geranium-artist-trading-card-ACEO-ink-watercolor-chris-carter-artist-012413-sz

Scented Rose Geranium

This is the second little Artist Trading Card I have painted inspired by my Scented Rose Geranium.  Both  days I threw the die and got a Complementary Color Scheme.  Link to previous painting post.

The colors work better because the red leans toward violet and the greens lean toward yellow.  Rather than being the same value, as red and green are, pink and green offers more of a value range allowing the shapes to play more dynamically with one another.  The value difference is subtle yet effective.

I leave in the morning to teach color workshops at Village Art Supply in Santa Rosa, CA.  I hope to see some of you there!  I’m giving a free demo on Thursday evening.

Sketchbook Artist Trading Card: Scented Rose Geranium No. 2 – drawn first in ink with fountain pen, followed by watercolor

Color Scheme:  Complementary Color Scheme

Bring The Color Scheme Game outdoors, even in the winter.

Fire Hydrant on Haywood Road, Asheville, NC

Fire Hydrant, Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC

When filming one of the videos, Twenty Steps to Better Drawing, for the upcoming series of online painting demos, I found myself beside this fire hydrant after my third round of twenty steps.  The fire hydrant wasn’t yellow.  It was a fabulous combination of bright blue, red and green.  For a quick application of color, I opted to use a limited palette with a basic color scheme of Near Complements, Yellow and Red/Violet. I wanted to make a strong statement using the extremes of color value. Reality doesn’t matter to me.

Sketchbook, en plein air sketch: Fire Hydrant on Haywood Road, Asheville, NC – drawn first in ink with a fountain pen, followed by washes of watercolor.  The sketchbook is a moleskin sketchbook with slippery paper surface.

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